Apple today updated its Platform Security Guide to highlight the key security changes it has implemented on its products, including the iPhone, iPad, and the Mac. The updated document is the biggest ever — nearly a 200-page comprehensive technical guide — detailing the features Apple uses to protect user devices and data across all platforms. One of the changes that the latest revision brings to Apple’s Platform Security Guide is the addition of all the major security changes available through Apple M1 chip that was introduced last year.
The updated Platform Security Guide by Apple has been revised over 10 months after its last update. It covers iOS 14.3, iPadOS 14.3, macOS Big Sur 11.1, tvOS 14.3, and watchOS 7.2.
Apple has added 11 new topics to its latest Platform Security Guide that mostly cover key security changes available to Mac users through its native silicon: the Apple M1. The guide covers security elements that are in place to provide a secure boot process on the new Mac machines. It also talks about the authorisation requirements for enabling kernel extensions on Apple computers based on the M1 chip. However, security researcher Patrick Wardle recently suggested that the Apple M1 Mac machines are also not fully secured and require some fixes that could come through a future software update.
In addition to the Apple M1 chipset, the updated Platform Security Guide mentions the security changes available to the iPhone and iPad through iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates. These include the iBoot implementation that is limited to iPhones based on Apple A13 Bionic and later, and iPads running on the A14 Bionic chip.
Apple brought a list of software and hardware updates to its devices in the past to enhance their security. One of the biggest changes the company made was the introduction of Touch ID and Face ID aimed at enhancing user experience through biometric authentication alongside passcode protection.
Prior to those updates, Apple saw that about 49 percent of its users were setting a passcode on their devices — meaning 51 percent of its total user base was not using passcode. The reason for avoiding passcode usage was believed to be the effort it took users to unlock their devices. However, once Apple introduced biometric authentication, the company noticed that over 92 percent of its users chose to opt for Touch ID.
Apple also updated its silicon on iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices — with T2 chip and dedicated AES hardware engine to implement line-speed encryption.
Having said that, the ecosystem constructed by Apple isn’t fool proof. The company often receives bug reports from security researchers. It has even faced lawsuits in the past over allegedly infringing copyrights while enhancing security of its operating systems.
Is MacBook Air M1 the portable beast of a laptop that you always wanted? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.