How to Secure Your iPhone With Lockdown Mode

If you are an average iPhone user, you do not have to worry about a sophisticated targeted cyber attack against you. But if you feel that you may be targeted by extremely rare and highly sophisticated cyber tools because of what you do or who you are, you can protect your iPhone with Lockdown Mode. This extreme protection option is recommended for journalists, human rights advocates, and civil society activists who believe they may be at risk of surveillance or targeted cyber attacks.

Lockdown Mode disables or restricts certain features, apps, websites, and settings on your iPhone to prevent highly advanced mercenary spyware from spying on you or compromising your personal information. This additional protection comes at a cost: when Lockdown Mode is enabled, your device will not function like it used to.

With Lockdown Mode enabled on your iPhone, most message attachments and links in Messages will be blocked, and link previews will be unavailable. Some websites may load or work more slowly. You will not be able to receive FaceTime calls from people you have not called before. You will also not be able to share albums or access albums shared by others in the Photos app.

Enable Lockdown Mode on iPhone

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Privacy & Security.
  3. Scroll down and, under Security, tap Lockdown Mode.
  4. Tap Turn On Lockdown Mode.
  5. Scroll down and tap Turn On Lockdown Mode again.
  6. To confirm, tap Turn On & Restart.
  7. Enter your iPhone passcode.

Exclude Apps from Lockdown Mode

As mentioned above, enabling Lockdown Mode may disable or restrict certain apps on your iPhone. The good news is that you can exclude apps that you trust from being impacted by Lockdown Mode restrictions.

Here is how you can exclude an app from Lockdown Mode:

  1. With Lockdown Mode enabled on your phone, open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Privacy & Security.
  3. Scroll down and, under Security, tap Lockdown Mode.
  4. Scroll down and tap Configure Web Browsing at the bottom of the screen.
  5. Turn off the app that you want to exclude.
    This menu will only show apps that have some of their functions limited in Lockdown Mode. Only apps that have been opened since enabling Lockdown Mode on a device will appear on this list.

You can always disable Lockdown Mode on your device if you feel it is too restrictive or you no longer require the additional protection it provides. To do so, complete the first three steps listed under Enable Lockdown Mode on iPhone above. Then, tap Turn Off Lockdown Mode > Turn Off & Restart.