iPhone update: With iOS 16, Apple takes a step into a world without passwords

On Monday Apple released its new iPhone operating system. A password alternative plays a central role in this. There are also new security features and a more variable lock screen.

Apples neue Live-Text-Funktion: iOS 16 übersetzt jetzt auch in Videos

Apple’s new Live Text feature: iOS 17 now also translates into videos

Photo: Apple

Insecure or stolen passwords are still probably the greatest security risk in the entire IT. Apple is doing the update to iOS that iPhone customers are likely to experience Monday evening German time will be available, a step towards a password-free future. It is one of the more complicated, but also one of the most important innovations in the operating system.

This is made possible by the open standard FIDO (Fast Identity Online), which in German means fast online identification. Behind it is the non-commercial FIDO Alliance

. Many companies, service providers and authorities have joined forces, including the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).

If you want to log in via FIDO, you must first have a smartphone, tablet or computer with the respective register the service yourself. A public and a private key are created. The private one is stored on the device itself in a hardware chip that cannot leak any information – a so-called Trusted Platform Module (TPM). In the iPhone, this role is assumed by the so-called Secure Enclave, a system separate from the main processor. Separate public keys are generated for each website and app that you log into with FIDO and stored on the respective server. Log-in is only possible if both keys match. The advantage: the login method is protected against password leaks and phishing attacks.

Passwordless login with the FIDO standard: One of the more complicated, but also one of the most important innovations in the operating system

Photo : FIDO Alliance

Apple itself calls its implementation of the FIDO standard »Passkeys«. The private key is also saved in the iCloud, i.e. on Apple’s servers, in the so-called keychain. This, in turn, is also end-to-end encrypted, so not even Apple could access private “passkeys”. Therefore, experts consider the risk to be manageable, even if the keys leave the device. Users therefore only need one private key, which then works on all their Apple devices via the iCloud. You only identify yourself biometrically on the respective device, via Touch ID or Face ID (Read more about the new standard FIDO 2, which is intended to replace passwords, here).

Have fun on the lock screen

As another major innovation, Apple considers a major overhaul of the lock screen. Similar to many Android devices, it is used in iOS 16 for something flexible and adaptable to personal needs. In addition to widgets and various photo motifs, other fonts and the overall design of the screen can also be specified. Messages scroll from bottom to top.

Sperrbildschirmoptionen unter iOS 16: Neue Gestaltungsmöglichkeiten – wie bei Android

Lock screen options on iOS 16: New design options – like Android

Photo: Apple

change the lock screen depending on the usage scenario and, for example, »work« from »leisure« and d separate »sleeping«. Only certain notifications should come through. In the “Leisure” scenario, for example, no notifications from the employer should appear.

An announced innovation that will affect live events automatically updating ticker messages, for example from sporting events, will be postponed by a few weeks.

More comfort for pictures, videos, messages and e-mails

The Live Text feature that translates text on photos is available in iOS 16 also for videos. It is planned that a video can be stopped at any point and that you can interact with the text there.

Photo editing will also have an interesting new feature: Objects can be 16 can be cropped directly in the app. Until now, this required special image editing apps.

Another planned innovation, one with until photo library shared by six people (more precisely: six Apple users), but is delayed.

Sent messages up to 15 Edit minutes after sending and even get it back completely. A function for e-mails is similarly convenient: It is available in iOS 16 possible , to plan them in advance and also to recall them for a moment shortly after they have been sent.

The dictation function has also been improved. It should now recognize emojis in addition to punctuation marks.

More security against stalking and violence

Further security features concern the protection of certain groups. The “Safety Check” is intended to quickly and comprehensively withdraw access rights and location approvals from persons who pose a risk. This should help to prevent digital violence and stalking. In addition, according to Apple, accounts for children are now even more fully secured. Age or screen time restrictions can be placed on these from the start.

The Anti-Pegasus mode as a last resort

The so-called blocking mode, which Apple believes can stop all known state Trojan attacks (read here how a state Trojan -Attack of group NSO works

).

However, it comes with significant limitations in terms of functionality and is therefore not activated by default. This includes the fact that cable connections to computers or accessories are interrupted as soon as the iPhone is locked, but also the automated switching off of some web technologies in the browser. Except for photos, almost no other attachments get through in the Messages app in blocking mode. And FaceTime calls only work if the person called has previously agreed in a message that they want to have the conversation.

Apples besonders sicherer Blockierungsmodus: Schutz für Dissidenten und Aktivisten Apples besonders sicherer Blockierungsmodus: Schutz für Dissidenten und Aktivisten

Apple’s extra secure blocking mode : Protection for Dissidents and Activists

Photo: Apple

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This is Apple’s reaction to typical attack paths that sophisticated surveillance software uses, e.g makes use of: file attachments that disguise themselves as another file type, automated scripts running in the background when visiting websites, and even attacks that are carried out without the victim clicking. The Israeli NSO Group in particular made the headlines in connection with spyware delivered in this way: Although the company always claims that its programs are only sold to state customers to fight crime and terrorism, dissidents, journalists and members of the opposition have been finding the Pegasus Trojans on their cell phones (Read here in detail how the company wants to protect against state Trojans).

No more support for three models le

Of As is usual with Apple, all iPhone customers benefit from the new features at the same time, provided they are using reasonably up-to-date devices. However, older models are no longer supported: The new operating system does not run on the first generation iPhone SE, the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 7.

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