Apple today released iOS 16.3 RC version to developer beta testers. Since this is the release candidate version, it represents the final version that will be released to the public next week. Thanks to the RC build, we now know that iOS 16.3 brings iCloud Advanced Data Protection feature to all users worldwide.
Apple introduced iCloud Advanced Data Protection in December 2022. With the launch of this feature, Apple expanded end-to-end encryption to most of the iCloud services, including iMessage, Device Backup, Photos, and more. At launch, it was only available in the United States. But now with iOS 16.3, it will be available to all users globally.
iCloud offers end-to-end encryption for 14 types of data by default, such as Messages (excluding backups), Health data, and Apple Maps search history. Enabling Advanced Data Protection extends this encryption to most other iCloud categories, except for the Mail, Contacts, and Calendar apps.
By default, Apple stores encryption keys for certain iCloud data types on its servers to allow users to recover their data if they lose access to their Apple ID. Advanced Data Protection, if enabled, removes the encryption keys from Apple’s servers and stores them solely on the user’s device, making the data inaccessible to Apple, law enforcement, and anyone else, even in the event of an iCloud server breach.
If you’re willing to enable Advanced Data Protection on your iPhone running iOS 16.3, we have a dedicated guide that will tell you how to turn on the feature step-by-step.