iOS 16.3 lets you use a physical security key to secure your iPhone

iOS 16.3 Security Key and Advanced Data Protection
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has released iOS 16.3, which includes a huge security feature that’s set to change how we store our whole lives online.

iCloud is home to some of our most trusted memories, secrets, and more, and the thought of a hacker getting hold of our cloud storage data puts fear into most users with an Apple ID.

To help protect this, iOS 16.3, and the correlating iPadOS 16.3 and macOS 13.2 updates, have brought along support for security keys to further enhance Apple ID protection. 

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iOS 16.3 Security Keys

“Security Keys for Apple ID allows users to strengthen the security of their account by requiring a physical security key to sign in," an extract from Apple's release notes reads.

Apple has long offered two-factor authentication (2FA) on its accounts, however this type of protection is still easy for scammers to get around with phishing emails and other types of hacks.

Users looking to take their account protection one step further can now choose to use a physical security key, which only they have access to, in order to prevent prying eyes for gaining unwanted access.

While this may be welcome news to many, it does come with caution for the less tech-savvy customers. That’s because you are now the holder of your encryption key, so if you were to lose it, you’d be locked out for good - Apple won’t hold a backup. 

The latest round of updates has also seen Advanced Data Protection expanded. It’s now able to end-to-end encrypt 23 iCloud categories, including Photos, which Apple says will “[protect] your information even in the case of a data breach in the cloud” for users worldwide after an initial US-only rollout.”

Other updates include bug fixes, an Emergency SOS improvement that should see fewer accidental phone calls, and support for the second-generation HomePod.

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!