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What is iPhone Encryption & Data Protection ?

Apple’s built-in iOS encryption and data protection feature provides a powerful system for securing personal data on your devices.

By setting up a device passcode, the user automatically enables Data Protection. iOS Data encryption protects user data if the device is lost or stolen, device cannot be unlocked without the key (passcode).

What is encryption and decryption?

Encryption is the process scrambling plain text data into something meaningless. Decryption is the process of unscramble meaningless text back to plaintext.

Is a way to enhance the security of a message that can be read only by someone who has the right encryption key to unscramble it.

iOS Built-in data security features

Here are some of the important Built-in iOS security features to protect your data.

  • Hardware encryption
  • Data Protection


[ Image – iOS encryption and data protection security architecture ]

Hardware Encryption

iOS uses AES-256 symmetrical encryption algorithm to securely encrypt your data and prevent unwanted access to your files.

  • Every iOS device has a dedicated AES 256 crypto engine built into the hardware.
  • The device’s unique ID (UID) and a device group ID (GID) are AES 256-bit keys fused into processor during manufacturing.
  • No software or firmware can read them directly.
  • UIDs are unique to each iOS device and are not stored or recorded by Apple or any of its suppliers.

Data Protection

Apple uses Data Protection to further protect data stored in flash memory on the device.

  • By setting up a device passcode, the user automatically enables Data Protection.
  • The stronger the user passcode is, the stronger the encryption key becomes

App Security

iOS provides layers of protection to ensure that apps are signed and verified, and are sandboxed to protect user data.

  • All the apps should be signed using an Apple-issued certificate.
  • All third-party apps are “sandboxed” — restricted from accessing files stored by other apps or from making changes to the device.
  • iOS does not allow users to install potentially malicious unsigned apps from websites, or run untrusted code.
  • Apps can only perform background processing through system-provided APIs.

[ Reference iOS Security Guide ]

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