Apple has announced a new “extreme” security feature called isolation mode — also for iPad and Mac — to help protect against targeted cyberattacks.

The new iPhone Isolate Mode will be available for testing on iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura beta versions.


Apple says the iPhone’s isolation mode will provide a “Optional extreme protection for a small number of users who face serious targeted threats that compromise the security of their network.”

Serious, this mode is not intended for the average citizen, but for a very small percentage of users that could be specifically targeted by very sophisticated threats such as Pegasus software.

With isolation lock mode on your iPhone, iPad or Mac, device functionality is limited to greatly reduce the “attack surface” for potential exploits and strengthen defenses.


Here’s how Apple describes the security measures that Isolation Mode will take when it launches this fall:

  • Messages: Most attachment types, except images, are blocked. Several features such as viewing links are also disabled.
  • Web Browsing: Certain complex web technologies, such as just-in-time (JIT) compilation of JavaScript, are disabled unless the user excludes a trusted site from isolation mode.
  • Apple Services: Incoming invitations and service requests, including FaceTime calls, are blocked if the user has not previously submitted a request or called the initiator.
  • Wired connections to a computer or accessory are blocked when iPhone is locked.
  • When isolation mode is enabled, configuration profiles cannot be installed and the device cannot access mobile device management (MDM).

In addition, Apple created a new category in the Apple Security Rewards Program to reward researchers who find deviations in isolation mode and help improve their protection measures.

Valid find rewards are doubled in isolation mode (up to a maximum of $2 million). This is the biggest reward of its kind in the industry.