Apple has boosted the security and privacy of iCloud services further by switching end-to-end encryption for Safari bookmarks, preventing anyone but you from accessing them.
UPDATE October 11, 2021: Apple has disabled end-to-end encryption, which provides the highest level of data security, for Safari bookmarks. The company has updated a support document on iCloud security to acknowledge that Safari bookmarks are encrypted only in transit and on server, protected using “a standard minimum of 128-bit AES encryption.”
- Apple switches on end-to-end encryption for Safari bookmarks
- Bookmarks are encrypted on the device, in transit and on iCloud servers
- This ensures no one but the user can access saved Safari bookmarks
Safari bookmarks in iCloud are now end-to-end encrypted
Before this change, Apple applied end-to-end encryption to other types of Safari content, including Safari history and iCloud tabs. End-to-end encryption wasn’t used to protect iCloud bookmarks in Safari, but that’s changing now, according to reports on Reddit.
With end-to-end encryption, your Safari bookmarks are encrypted on your own devices, when in transit (when being synced with iCloud) and at rest (while being stored on servers). This prevents rogue parties to interject between the cloud and your device to catch unprotected bookmarks as they’re being synced. Read: How to save open Safari tabs as bookmarks
Not all data types that Apple apps store in iCloud use this type of encryption.
Things you need to know about iCloud security
Crucial items like Apple Pay, Health data, saved passwords, exchanged messages and more use end-to-end encryption. But as a support document on the Apple website spells out, apps like Photos and Notes, and features like iCloud backups, only use 128-bit AES encryption.
iCloud secures your information by encrypting it when it’s in transit and storing it in iCloud in an encrypted format. Many Apple services use end-to-end encryption, which means that only you can access your information, and only on trusted devices where you’re signed in with your Apple ID.
Read the support document for a detailed list of all the iCloud features and their individual level of protection in terms of encryption and security.
End-to-end encryption provides the highest level of data security. On each of your devices, the data that you store in iCloud and that’s associated with your Apple ID is protected with a key derived from information unique to that device, combined with your device passcode which only you know. No one else, not even Apple, can access end-to-end encrypted information.
As mentioned earlier, not everything stored in iCloud takes advantage of the strongest end-to-end encryption. Knowing which data types are protected with which encryption is crucial to understanding how secure your data really is across the company’s platforms and services.
This is by design. The approach enables the company to portray itself as a champion of security. At the same time, Apple intentionally leaves features such as iCloud backup unprotected. As a result, law enforcement is unable to eavesdrop on iMessages chat but can easily get a copy of your most recent iCloud backup that includes the Messages database.