US-based tech giant Apple has launched the first beta of iOS 16.6 and iPadOS 16.6 for developers ahead of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next month. This latest beta update introduces a number of new features, including iMessage Contact Key Verification, with the aim of providing enhanced security for Apple users.
As MacRumors reports, although it’s uncertain whether the iMessage contact verification feature is fully functional in the early beta release, there is now a setting available in the Settings app for iMessage contact verification. iMessage Contacts Key is specially designed to protect Apple users facing serious digital threats.
The report states that it is intended for individuals such as journalists, human rights activists and government officials who are at risk of malicious digital attacks, especially from state-sponsored attackers or other malicious actors.
The purpose of iMessage Contact Verification is to allow owners of Apple devices to confirm that they are communicating with the intended recipients, rather than for a malicious entity to intercept or eavesdrop on their conversations. When both parties have enabled iMessage Contact Key Verification, Apple will send an alert if the cloud server is breached, indicating a possible intrusion into the security of the conversation.
Additionally, users can verify their identity and the authenticity of their contacts by comparing contact verification codes in person via FaceTime or using another secure app.
Apple had announced that iMessage Contact Key Verification would be made available on iPhones and other Apple devices sometime in 2023. It is said to be one of the last features expected to be introduced in iOS 16. The feature, initially announced alongside Security Keys for Apple IDs, became available in iOS 16.3, further enhancing the overall security of Apple’s ecosystem.
As Apple continues to prioritize user privacy and security, the iOS 16.6 beta update provides developers with an opportunity to explore and test these new features before they are released to a wider user base.