How to turn on end-to-end encryption for iMessage, iCloud, iPhone backups in iOS 16.2

Apple is launching a big security enhancement with iOS 16.2 that brings the long-requested feature of full encryption for iMessage in iCloud, iPhone backups, and eight other apps/categories. As part of the process, you’ll need to set up a recovery contact/key – here’s how to turn on iPhone end-to-end encryption for iMessage, iCloud, device backups, Notes, Safari, Photos, and more.

iOS 16.2 is currently finishing its testing as a developer and public beta. The release candidate was made available yesterday, so it won’t be long until it launches to the public.

But if you don’t want to wait to try out Apple’s Advanced Data Protection and other great features like a customizable always-on display for iPhone 14 Pro, Apple Music Sing, and more, you can learn how to install the free public beta now in our full explainer:

While end-to-end encryption (E2E) has been already present for Apple’s Messages, iCloud Keychain, Health data, and more, the update brings E2E to your Messages Backup (Messages in iCloud) your iPhone iCloud backup, iCloud Drive, Notes, Photos, Reminders, Safari Bookmarks, Siri Shortcuts, Voice Memos, and Wallet Passes. Read more on the fine details in our full coverage and Apple’s support document.

How to turn on iPhone end-to-encryption for iMessage, iCloud backups

  1. Make sure you’re running iOS 16.2 (install the free beta if you don’t want to wait)
  2. Open the Settings app on your iPhone
  3. Tap your name at the top
  4. Now choose iCloud
  5. Swipe to the bottom and tap Advanced Data Protection
  6. Tap Turn On Advanced Data Protection
    • If you don’t have a recovery contact or recovery key set up, you’ll be prompted to do that first
  7. If you just finished setting up a recovery contact/key, head back to Settings app > iCloud > Advanced Data Protection and tap Turn On Advanced Data Protection
  8. Follow the prompts
  9. You may be asked to update your other devices signed into your iCloud account before you can enable the end-to-end encryption (E2E)
    • Alternatively, you can remove devices that are on old software to move forward with the process

Here’s how the process looks to turn on iPhone end-to-end encryption with Advanced Data Protection:

Turn on iPhone end-to-end encryption for iMessage, iCloud, backups 1

If you don’t have a recovery contact or key set up already, you’ll do that first:

Turn on iPhone end-to-end encryption for iMessage, iCloud, backups 2

After finishing the recovery contact/key setup, head back to the Advanced Data Protection screen and tap “Turn On Advanced Data Protection”.

One more thing to keep in mind, you may need to update your other Apple devices to the newest release to enable end-to-end encryption – or need to remove them from the main Apple ID screen in the Settings app.

What do you think about end-to-end encryption coming to Messages in iCloud, backups, and more? Will you be turning the feature on? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Thanks for reading our guide on how to turn on iPhone end-to-end encryption!

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