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Turning on new iPhone security feature can help seriously protect users

Turning on new iPhone security feature can help seriously protect users

This little iOS setting could save you from major problems.

Apple loves nothing more than adding small but useful features to its devices in software updates - and sometimes it can take weeks for people to even fully realize what's new.

When iOS 17.2 came out in December, you might have installed it without reading into the details too much and missed a really welcome addition.

You'll need to have the latest iOS installed to access the feature.
NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty

There's now a new feature in iOS called Contact Key Verification. The idea is that Apple can help you screen who you talk to on its messaging platforms by giving you extra information about them, to prove they are who they say they are.

Once enabled, the setting basically assigns you a unique code that you can share with whoever you're talking to on the Messages app - by comparing your codes, you can double-check that there's no identity-masking or theft going on.

Apple itself is keen to underline that this is really a measure against the most sophisticated cyberattacks - it's not likely to help against phishing or other more traditional scams, since those rarely see hackers actively masking themselves digitally as familiar contacts. Instead, they'll generally just have similar numbers or contact names, for example.

Still, it'll be interesting to see how widely-used this becomes in time, since you can also copy-paste your Public Verification Code to your social media page or wherever else you like. This could mean that people share their codes pretty widely to help contacts or followers know that only messages with that verified code come from them.

You can easily switch on Contact Key Verification.
Catherine McQueen / Getty

If the feature sounds of interest, activating it is straightforward, although you do have to be running the latest version of iOS 17.2 on your iPhone to have access.

How to activate Contact Key Verification on iPhone

To turn the setting on, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on your name at the top of the main Settings menu.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the next page and tap on Contact Key Verification.
  4. Turn the setting on.

Once it's activated, any time you're using Messages you can tap on a contact's name at the top of the chat, and if they've also got it activated you'll be able to choose 'Verify Contact' to initiate a mutual code check.

Most likely this will be the sort of setting that you activate once and then rarely use, but who knows - one day it could help save you from some serious angst.

Featured Image Credit: NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty