Last year, Apple made a major security commitment by announcing an array of new safety features for the iPhone, including iCloud Advanced Data Protection and iMessage Contact Key Verification. While the former has already been rolled out, the latter has remained in the pipeline – until now.
The latest iOS 16.6 Beta reveals the inclusion of settings related to the anticipated iMessage Contact Key Verification feature. Currently, these settings are not functional, suggesting that Apple is still in the process of completing its development.
Apple, being characteristically tight-lipped, has yet to disclose when the Contact Key Verification feature will be officially launched. However, with WWDC 2023 looming on the horizon, it’s doubtful that Apple would defer the introduction of this significant feature until iOS 17.
So, why does the iMessage Contact Key Verification matter?
This novel security feature is designed to provide users with an encrypted channel for enhanced security, augmenting the existing end-to-end encryption already activated on iMessage. The Contact Key Verification allocates unique encryption keys to the participants in a conversation. Only after a successful key verification can the conversation proceed normally between the two or multiple parties involved.
In the unlikely event that Apple’s iMessage servers are compromised or subject to other extreme circumstances that could disrupt encryption key verification, iMessage will automatically alert the participants that their conversation is no longer secure.
Given the increasing importance of cybersecurity in our connected world, Apple’s focus on strengthening communication security is a welcome move, and we look forward to learning more about these developments at WWDC 2023. Stay tuned as we keep you updated on Apple’s journey towards enhancing user security.