15 Things To Know About iPhone’s Lockdown Mode

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Looking to beef up your iPhone’s security? Lockdown Mode is your high-security shield, designed for those facing serious cyber threats. This feature tweaks your device’s settings to block potentially dangerous interactions, keeping your data safer from sophisticated attacks. Here is what you need to know about activating and managing Lockdown Mode.

What It Is

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Lockdown Mode is Apple’s extreme security measure designed for individuals who might be targeted by sophisticated cyber threats, such as journalists, activists, or public figures who might be targets for spyware attacks. Once activated, it significantly restricts what your phone can do to minimize these risks​​.

How to Turn It On

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To activate Lockdown Mode, go to your iPhone’s Settings, tap on ‘Privacy & Security,’ scroll to ‘Lockdown Mode,’ and then enable it. The process is straightforward but requires you to restart your device. This will not automatically apply to your other devices like iPad or Mac; you will need to turn it on separately for each.

Impact on Apps and Features

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When you switch on Lockdown Mode, many features on your iPhone are scaled back. For instance, most message attachments are blocked except for some images, videos, and audio. Links and link previews in messages will not work either. Web browsing is also affected as some complex web technologies are disabled, which might make certain websites load incorrectly or not at all.

Restrictions on Connectivity

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In Lockdown Mode, your device will not automatically join non-secure Wi-Fi networks. Moreover, any physical connections to your device, like connecting to a computer or accessory, will require your device to be unlocked and may need explicit approval, especially for Macs with Apple silicon.

FaceTime and Photo Sharing

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Lockdown Mode restricts incoming FaceTime calls to only those contacts you have previously called. Moreover, shared photo albums are removed from the Photos app, and you cannot send new shared album invitations. You will only be able to view these on devices that are not in Lockdown Mode.

Apple Services and Games

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Lockdown Mode takes a firm hand with Apple services. For example, you will not receive any new invitations to collaborate in services like the Home app unless the person inviting you is already a known contact. Moreover, access to features like Game Center is disabled, limiting social and multiplayer functionalities.

Emergency Features Remain Active

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Despite its restrictive nature, Lockdown Mode does not interfere with your ability to make emergency calls or send SOS signals. This ensures that even in a high-security setting, you can still reach out for help in critical situations. Regular phone calls and plain text SMS are also unaffected, maintaining basic communication lines.

Configuring Exceptions

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If there is a site or app that you trust and need to function normally, you can choose to exclude it from the restrictions. This is particularly useful if Lockdown Mode is blocking something important for your work or personal use. However, be cautious; excluding apps or sites can create vulnerabilities.

Impact on Photos and Camera

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Besides affecting how photos are shared, Lockdown Mode also strips any location data from photos you share during its activation. This helps in preventing any potential location tracking through metadata embedded in images. Remember, shared albums are also not accessible unless viewed on devices and not in Lockdown Mode.

Turning Off Lockdown Mode

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When the threat has passed, or if you find the restrictions too limiting for everyday use, turning off Lockdown Mode is just as simple as turning it on. You will need to navigate back to the Privacy & Security settings and disable it. This restores your device’s full functionalities, but remember to turn it on again if the threat landscape changes.

Restricted Device Configuration

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While in Lockdown Mode, you cannot install new configuration profiles or enroll your device in mobile device management systems. This restriction helps prevent attackers from pushing potentially malicious configurations onto your device. If your school or employer requires specific settings, you may need to disable Lockdown Mode temporarily to comply.

Limited Functionality for New Contacts

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In Lockdown Mode, any new contacts who have not previously interacted with your Apple services or apps will find it challenging to connect with you. For instance, they cannot send you FaceTime calls or invite you to manage apps or shared services unless you initiate contact. This feature prevents unsolicited contacts from potentially exploiting your device’s functionalities.

Notifications of Limited Features

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When you enable Lockdown Mode, your iPhone will actively inform you when an app or feature is restricted due to the mode. This helps you understand why certain functions are not working as expected and reassures you that the mode is actively protecting your device.

Safari Browsing Changes

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Web browsing under Lockdown Mode is significantly altered. Many advanced web technologies are disabled, which can affect how websites display and function. This is intended to block potentially harmful scripts or content that might exploit vulnerabilities in web technologies.

Protection Against Configuration Profile Changes

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One critical aspect of Lockdown Mode is its ability to block the installation of new configuration profiles. This is particularly important because it prevents attackers from altering your device settings through unauthorized profiles, which could be used to circumvent security measures or track your activities. If you need to install legitimate profiles for work or school, you will need to temporarily disable Lockdown Mode.


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