What is Lockdown Mode on iPhone & How to Use It

A few days ago, several prominent Indian opposition leaders claimed that they had received a warning message from Apple stating that state-sponsored attackers might target their iPhones to compromise their privacy. These types of cyber attacks only affect a very small number of specific individuals and their devices, making them much more difficult to detect and prevent. To prevent such attacks, Apple introduced a feature called Lockdown Mode in 2022, which aims to protect users from privacy-invading spyware such as Pegasus.

As the name suggests, Lockdown Mode restricts several features to improve the security of your iPhone. Keep reading to discover what Lockdown Mode on iPhone and iPad is and how to use it.

Requirements to use Lockdown Mode on iPhone

  • iOS 16 or later installed on your iPhone
  • iPadOS 16 or later installed on your iPad

What is Lockdown Mode on iPhone?

Lockdown Mode on iPhone is a security feature introduced with iOS 16 that Apple says is designed to protect certain individuals who may be targets of some of the most advanced digital threats, such as those from the NSO Group and other malicious actors .

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When Lockdown mode is enabled, your iPhone limits certain apps and functionalities that endanger your digital security. Furthermore, just because Apple added this mode doesn’t mean it applies to everyone, as such attacks normally never target general people.

Enable Lockdown Mode on iPhone or iPad

Now that you know what lockdown mode is, it’s time to learn how to enable it if you think you might fall victim to a state-sponsored digital threat. Follow the steps below:

  • Open the Settings app and tap the Privacy & Security option.
  • Here, scroll down and tap Lock mode option.
  • Now tap the ‘Enable Lock Mode’ button on the next page.
lockdown mode on iPhone
  • Then scroll down and tap the Enable Lockdown Mode button again.
  • In the pop-up that appears, tap the Power on and restart button.
  • Now enter your passcode and wait for your iPhone to restart.
enable lockdown mode on iPhone

Remark: Once you enable Lockdown Mode on your iPhone, it will automatically be enabled on your other Apple devices where you are signed in with the same Apple ID.

lockdown mode on Mac

After you enable Lockdown Mode on your iPhone, you will see a banner for Lockdown Mode in the Safari browser. Additionally, you can receive notifications when an app or feature is restricted.

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How to exclude websites from lock mode

Once lockdown mode is enabled on your iPhone, some apps or features such as Messages, Web Browsing, FaceTime, Photos, and more may be limited in functionality. But Apple allows you to exclude websites in Safari from the effects and limitations of WebKit restrictions.

While this functionality exists, you should always make sure that you only exclude trusted websites if they are necessary for you. Here are the steps to exclude websites from Lockdown mode on iPhone or iPad:

  • Open the website you want to exclude in the Safari browser after enabling Lockdown Mode.
  • Here, tap the Page Settings button (the AA icon) at the bottom left tap Website Setting in the pop-up menu.
website settings safari
  • Now, tap the switch next to Lock mode to turn it off. Then tap the Disable button. This will exclude the website from lockdown mode.
exclude the website from lockdown mode

How to Disable Lockdown Mode on iPhone or iPad

  • Open the Settings app and go to Privacy & Security -> Lock Mode.
  • Tap here on the red “Turn off lock mode” knob.
Disable Lockdown Mode on iPhone
  • Now tap the Power off and restart button in the pop-up that appears.
  • Then enter your iPhone passcode and wait for your iPhone to restart.
disable lockdown mode on iPhone

Once your iPhone has restarted, log in again and you will see that the features that were once disabled or restricted during Lockdown Mode are now working properly again.

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And that’s it. Always remember that Apple designed this feature only for people exposed to the most advanced digital threats. So knowing how to use this security feature is important if you are part of a group or profession that could be targeted by spyware and other threats.

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