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Apple's iMessage is getting a security feature straight out of a spy movie

Overkill for many, but super useful for some.
By

Published onJune 5, 2023

Apple iMessages on iPhone stock photo 4
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Apple has added an advanced security feature to iMessage.
  • iMessage Contact Key Verification allows users to verify that they are messaging only the people they intend to chat with.
  • The feature also alerts users if someone starts eavesdropping on their messages.

Apple’s iMessage is perhaps one of the most popular messaging apps out there. Even though it’s restricted to iOS users and hasn’t let in the Android crowd yet, it offers some of the best chat and security features. End-to-end encryption has been a part of iMessage since the service’s launch, but Apple is making it even more secure with a new feature.

It’s iMessage Contact Key Verification. The security feature for Apple’s chat app will allow users to verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend to talk to.

Users who have enabled iMessage Contact Key Verification will receive automatic alerts if an “exceptionally advanced adversary,” such as a state-sponsored attacker, succeeds in breaching cloud servers and eavesdropping on encrypted iMessage conversations.

Apple iMessage Contact Key Verification
Apple

We know what you’re thinking — “This stuff will never happen to me.” You’re probably right. The advanced iMessage security feature may be overkill for regular folks like us. Apple says it’s for “users who face extraordinary digital threats. This includes journalists, human rights activists, and members of government.” If you belong to those groups, this might be a crucial feature for you.

Apple didn’t go into a lot of detail about how Contact Key Verification will work. However, the company said that users who enable it will be able to compare a Contact Verification Code in person, over FaceTime (which is also end-to-end encrypted), and through another secure call.

As for a release date, nothing is for sure yet, but we know the feature will launch sometime in 2023. After months of waiting, we’ve finally seen rumors surfacing. In fact, many reports from sites like Engadget, MacRumors, Apple Insider, and BGR claim the iOS 16.6 beta version is starting to show signs of iMessage Contact Key Verification.