Apple devices like iPhone, iPad and Mac has a security feature called Lockdown Mode. This helps to isolate the devices when they receive targeted attacks from spyware or any other threats. As the device will be isolated, all incoming network activities will be restricted or limited to protect the system. You can anytime later turn off the Lockdown Mode when you feed it is safer.
Enabling Lockdown Mode in Apple Devices
The feature was introduced as part of iOS 16, iPad 16 and macOS 13 (Ventura). Apple also increased the security of Lockdown Mode in iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and macOS 14 (Sonoma) versions and introduced the feature to watchOS 10. So, you should update the OS to the latest version and enable Lockdown Mode in each device separately.
Turn On Lockdown Mode in iPhone
- Tap on the Settings app and navigate to “Privacy & Security” section.
- Scroll down to bottom of the page and tap on “Lockdown Mode” option. This option is disabled by default.
- On the next page, tap on “Turn On Lockdown Mode”” link.
- You will see a big list of features that will be affected. Make sure to read the details till the bottom and tap on “Turn On Lockdown Mode” link.
- On the pop-up that appears, tap on “Turn On & Restart” option.
Your iPhone will restart with the Lockdown Mode activated. You can follow the same procedure in iPad to turn on Lockdown Mode.
Turn On Lockdown Mode in Mac
Follow the below steps on Mac:
- Click the Apple logo showing on top left corner of the screen and select “Settings…” menu.
- When you are in the Settings app, go to “Privacy & Security” section from the left sidebar.
- Scroll down to bottom of the settings page and click on “Lockdown Mode” option showing under “Security” heading.
- On the next page, click the “Turn On…” button.
- You will the details of apps and services affected and click on “Turn On Lockdown Mode” button.
- It will show another pop-up and click “Turn On & Restart” button.
Now, you Mac will restart with the Lockdown Mode activated.
What Happens with Lockdown Mode?
Here are the apps and services will get affected when you enable the Lockdown Mode.
- Messages – attachments in the messages will be blocked for protection.
- FaceTime – all incoming calls from the people from whom you never received calls before will be blocked. You will also not able to use SharePlay and Live Photos.
- Safari and Other Browsers – browsing will be restricted and some websites may stop working.
- Photos – device will remove the location attached to your photos when sharing to protect your security. You will also not able to use shared albums.
- Network Connections – Mac when locked will block all devices connected with cable.
- Apple Services – all incoming invitations from people whom you have previously not invited will be blocked.
- Profiles – you can’t install configuration profiles for School or Work account and in the “VPN & Device Management” section in iPhone.
In summary, most of your existing stuffs will continue to work while none of the new things will work. For example, your existing VPN connection will work from iPhone but you can’t use another app or service as installing profile in “VPN & Device Management” will not work. If you are using mobiles from your organization, you will not be able to configure emails and remote access apps with profile installation. Safari browser will also show a notification that device is using lockdown Mode.
Exclusions and Disabling Lockdown Mode
It is possible to exclude websites and apps from Lockdown Mode when it is enabled.
- Safari – on iPhone Safari app, tap on the font size icon (AA) showing on left corner of the address bar and select “Website Settings” option. On Mac Safari app, right-click on the address bar and select “Settings for website…” option. From there you can disable Lockdown Mode on the settings pop-up that appears.
- For Managing Apps and Websites – if you want to exclude an app or manage all the excludes websites from Safari, go to “Settings > Privacy & Security > Lockdown Mode” section on your iPhone or Mac. Select “Configure Web Browsing” option to find the list of apps which are restricted and the websites that are excluded from Safari. Turn the switch on/off against each site or app to enable/disable Lockdown Mode for that item.
Once you are sure the device is safe, go to Lockdown Mode settings page and tap or click “Turn Off Lockdown Mode” link. Restart your device to start using it in normal mode. Remember, you should disable Lockdown Mode in all the devices separately.
Lockdown Mode helps to prevent targeted cyber attacks on your iPhone or Mac when connected to internet. Since this is a very rare situation, generally you do not need to use Lockdown mode at all. However, when you are in doubt simply turn on Lockdown Mode and then you can turn it off anytime later. Remember, Lockdown Mode will not help to cleanup virus or malware from the infected devices. You should use antivirus to scan and fix the issue.