Apple’s Lockdown Mode, which protects iPhones, iPads, and Macs from spyware attacks, will soon be available on Apple Watches as well. The mode is available in watchOS 10 and iOS 17.

In Lockdown Mode, devices block certain content and features, making them more difficult to use but also more secure. Apple says the mode is designed for people who are at high risk of being targeted by spyware, such as journalists, activists, and government officials.

The Lockdown Mode feature is available in the developer betas of iOS 17 and watchOS 10. The public betas will be released in July, and the final versions of the operating systems will be released in the fall.

Watch lockdown via paired iPhone

Lockdown Mode is turned off by default. Users must turn it on themselves in Settings > Privacy & Security > Lockdown Mode. The protective measures will take effect after a restart.

A new feature is that an iPhone will now also put a paired Apple Watch into Lockdown Mode as soon as it is activated on the phone. This requires iOS 17 and watchOS 10 to be installed on both devices.

Currently, the mode cannot be turned on or off in the watchOS settings. It is unclear whether this will change in the future or whether Apple will continue to link the mode to the paired iPhone.

What blocks Apple’s blocking mode

Apple introduced Lockdown Mode with iOS and iPadOS 16 as well as macOS 13 Ventura. This mode is not intended for general use, but for people who are at risk of being targeted by cyberattacks, such as celebrities, journalists, activists, or government employees.

Lockdown Mode severely restricts the functionality of the iPhone to reduce the attack surface. For example, websites in the browser may take longer to load and may not display all content. In iMessage, the mode blocks attachments and link previews are not displayed. In Apple’s FaceTime conferencing software, incoming calls are rejected if you have not been in contact with the person in question before. SharePlay is also not available. In the Photos app, shared albums are removed and new invitations are rejected. Invitations to Apple services like Home are also blocked.

Lockdown Mode also prevents the installation of configuration profiles for device management. In addition, you can only connect a device that is secured in this way to another computer if you unlock it. Phone calls, text messages, and emergency calls still work even with Lockdown Mode enabled. Apple plans to continue developing this mode.


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