What Is Advanced Data Protection for iCloud? (And How to Enable It)


Apple values privacy and iMessage has been a part of it with end-to-end encryption. However, the same level of security wasn’t available on iCloud.

Fortunately, that changes with iOS 16.2, as Apple introduced “Advanced Data Protection,” an optional setting that enables end-to-end encryption on iCloud services.

If you’re confused about this addition to iOS, read on as we’ll briefly discuss the Advanced Data Protection feature for iCloud and walk you through the steps to turn it on.

What Is Advanced Data Protection for iCloud?

Advanced Data Protection on iPhone 14 Pro

Advanced Data Protection for iCloud is an optional setting that enables end-to-end encryption on most of your iCloud data. As a result, once your iCloud data leaves your device, no one (not even Apple) can access it except you.

Only you will have access to the key that will allow you to decrypt your data. Even if your data gets stolen in a data breach, the thief will be unable to decrypt it without your private key. Furthermore, when your data gets encrypted in this manner, Apple cannot grant authorities access to your data, ensuring the confidentiality of your information.

What Does Advanced Data Protection Cover?

Apple has been using end-to-end encryption for encrypting iMessage, Health and Keychain data, and your payment information. End-to-end encryption is now available for the following iCloud categories, thanks to the addition of Advanced Data Protection:

  • iCloud Backups (Messages and device backups)
  • iCloud Drive
  • Notes
  • Photos
  • Reminders
  • Safari Bookmarks
  • Siri Shortcuts
  • Voice Memos
  • Wallet Passes

So, to access the data mentioned above, you must have access to your private key. It’s worth noting that Advanced Data Protection is unavailable in iCloud Mail, Contacts, or Calendar because they require integration with other global email, contacts, and calendar systems.

Requirements for iCloud’s Advanced Data Protection

Apple’s Advanced Data Protection feature is currently available on the following devices:

  • iPhone running iOS 16.2 and later
  • iPad with iPadOS 16.2 or newer
  • Mac running macOS 13.1 Ventura or newer
  • Apple Watch with watchOS 9.2 and later
  • Apple TV with tvOS 16.2 and newer
  • HomePod running version 16.2
  • Windows PC with iCloud for Windows 14.1 or newer installed

On top of the hardware and software requirements, you’ll need to enable two-factor authentication for your Apple ID, set a password or passcode on your device, or set up a recovery key on your Apple device. You’ll also need at least one recovery contact to help you recover your iCloud data with a code.

Currently, this feature is only available in the United States, but Apple plans to roll this feature out globally in early 2023.

How to Enable Advanced Data Protection for iCloud

You can enable Advanced Data Protection for your iCloud account once you have met all the requirements. Because the process is similar on other devices, we’ll show you how to enable it on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

How to Turn On Advanced Data Protection on iPhone and iPad

You can set up Advanced Data Protection from the Settings app in iOS and iPadOS. Follow these simple instructions:

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad and tap on your Apple ID name at the top.
  2. Navigate to iCloud > Advanced Data Protection.
  3. Tap Turn On Advanced Data Protection.
  4. Select Review Recovery Methods and enter your 28-character recovery key.
  5. Enter your iPad or iPhone’s passcode when prompted.
  6. Tap Done to finish the setup.

Once the setup finishes, Advanced Data Protection will be enabled for your Apple ID.

How to Turn On Advanced Data Protection on a Mac

Setting up Advanced Data Protection on a Mac is pretty straightforward as well. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to System Settings > Apple ID > iCloud on your Mac.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom to find the Advanced Data Protection setting. Click on it.
    Select the Advanced Data Protection option

  3. Now, click Turn On next to Advanced Data Protection.
    Click the Turn On option next to Advanced Data Protection

  4. Select the Review Recovery Methods option and enter your 28-character recovery key in the next window.
    Enter 28-character recovery key for verification

  5. Enter your Mac’s password if asked and tap Continue to finish the setup.

Advanced Data Protection will be enabled for your Apple ID when you’re finished. Similarly, you can turn this feature on under Apple ID settings on other devices. Also, you only have to enable it on one of your devices, as the setting will sync across all your Apple devices logged into the same account.

Secure Your Data With Advanced Data Protection

Most of us know Apple takes the privacy of its users very seriously, and Advanced Data Protection is a huge step in the right direction. It’s best to enable it to keep your iCloud backups and other valuable data completely private.

Advanced Data Protection is just one of the many privacy-oriented features that Apple brings to the table. You can also enhance your privacy on your iPhone and iPad by changing a few settings.


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