2021 Apple Platform Security guide now available

Apple has published its 2021 update to its Platform Security guide today along with refreshing the Apple Platform Security landing page. The latest guide goes in-depth on the new and updated security features that have arrived with iOS 14, macOS 11 Big Sur, Apple Silicon Macs, watchOS 7, and more. Apple has also launched an all-new Security Certifications and Compliance Center website and guide.

Apple has long held that secure software necessitates the foundation of security built into hardware. With the shift to using its own custom Apple Silicon in its first three M1 Macs starting last fall, the company has been able to realize that goal across its entire lineup of devices.

2021 Apple Platform Security guide

Device security is a never-ending mission and the latest Apple Platform Security guide details all the effort and changes Apple has implemented over the last year – highlighted by the guide growing 39 pages with this edition to a total of 196.

This documentation provides details about how security technology and features are implemented within Apple platforms. It also helps organizations combine Apple platform security technology and features with their own policies and procedures to meet their specific security needs.

While there a number of security updates that apply to existing/older devices, Apple Silicon has been notable with the M1 Macs allowing Apple to step up security to new levels when it comes to Data Protection via a rebuilt FileVault, System integrity, password protection, and more.

Another notable change in the last year has been the advanced BlastDoor security for iMessage (not specifically mentioned in the new security guide). While it was just recently discovered as present in iOS 14, we’ve learned Apple has built it into macOS Big Sur as well. It’s a totally under the hood change that users won’t notice, but it’s the biggest security improvement to iMessage since the service got end-to-end encryption. Read more on BlastDoor here.

Check out all the new topics added to the Apple Platform Security guide this year:

  • Memory safe iBoot implementation
  • Boot process for a Mac with Apple silicon
  • Boot modes for a Mac with Apple silicon
  • Startup Disk security policy control for a Mac with Apple silicon
  • LocalPolicy signing-key creation and management
  • Contents of a LocalPolicy file for a Mac with Apple silicon
  • Signed system volume security in macOS
  • Apple Security Research Device
  • Password Monitoring
  • IPv6 security
  • Car keys security in iOS

And here are all the security topics that have been updated:

  • Secure Enclave
  • Hardware microphone disconnect
  • recoveryOS and diagnostics environments for an Intel-based Mac
  • Direct memory access protections for Mac computers
  • Kernel extensions in macOS
  • System Integrity Protection
  • System security for watchOS
  • Managing FileVault in macOS
  • App access to saved passwords
  • Password security recommendations
  • Apple Cash security in iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS
  • Secure Business Chat using the Messages app
  • Wi-Fi privacy
  • Activation Lock security
  • Apple Configurator 2 security

You can find the full, updated Apple Platform Security guide on Apple’s website. Back in December, Apple also updated its Privacy website as it launched App Store Privacy labels.

Apple Security Certifications and Compliance Center

Along with the updated Apple Platform Security guide, Apple has an all-new Security Certifications and Compliance Center. It’s a robust resource covering Apple hardware, software, and services and also features a 50-page, in-depth guide.

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