One Good Reason To Install iOS 10.3…. Encryption

Apple released iOS 10.3 to the world yesterday. And in the process of doing so Apple is likely going to put itself in the crosshairs of governments and law enforcement types. I say that because iOS 10.3 brings a new feature to the table which is the Apple File System or APFS for short. Now the official party line from Apple is that Apple File System replaces the HFS+ file system that has been around for around three decades. You see HFS+ was designed when storage meant a couple of floppy disks as opposed to 128GB inside your iPhone. That means that by using HFS+, you’re leaving a lot of performance on the table. That changes as of iOS 10.3.

But the big change is the fact that Apple has really upped its encryption game. You see Apple themselves describes the encryption that is part of APFS as “strong full-disk encryption” for both files and metadata with optional “Multi-key encryption with per-file keys for file data and a separate key for sensitive metadata”. In English, that means that if someone wants to crack open your phone to get at your data, it’s likely not going to happen because there are multiple layers to the encryption. Thus if you’re law enforcement or government, you’re going to be really pissed right about now because there is less of a chance that an iPhone from a bad guy is going to give up its contents to you. Expect these two groups to get very vocal about how upset they are about iOS 10.3 shortly. To add to the fun, APFS is also coming to Apple’s computer lineup later this year. Presumably when Apple has had a chance to test all the possible combinations of storage configurations that APFS would have to deal with. When that happens, those cries from law enforcement and government will get louder. But for users who care about privacy, this is good news for them.




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