After a few weeks of beta testing, Apple released the final versions of macOS 13.1, iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 to the public.

In addition to the regular security patches and bug fixes, the updates include Freeform, a collaborative app announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The releases also include end-to-end encryption for iCloud data and Apple Music Sing, a karaoke feature for iPhones.

Freeform leverages your Apple ID and iCloud to instantly sync changes between several users on a bulletin board-style canvas. The iCloud end-to-end encryption update is bundled under the name Advanced Data Protection, which we recently covered in an article.

Encryptable data includes device backups for iPhones and iPads, as well as Safari bookmarks and data from the Photos, Notes, Voice Memos, Reminders, Shortcuts and Wallet apps. Calendar and Mail data remains unencrypted due to interconnects with global calendars, email and contacts. 

Advanced Data Protection also includes physical 2FA (two-factor authentication) and key verification for iMessage contacts, so that users conducting private chats can be confident they’re only communicating with the recipient.

The updates

Advanced Data Protection’s features, like the Lockdown Mode capability we first saw in iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, are disabled by default and must be manually enabled after updating.

When enabled, you can pick an emergency contact and produce a recovery key in case you lock yourself out of your account. Apple will not have your encryption key and cannot assist you.

Apple has released security patches for macOS Monterey and Big Sur (12.6.2 and 11.7.2, respectively) and a standalone update for Safari 16.2. Older devices unable to update to iOS 16 can install iOS 15.7.2, which contains many security-only improvements in iOS 16.2.

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