Apple Plans Major iCloud Data and App Security Change

May 16, 2017, 2:48 PM UTC

Apple will soon change the way users access iCloud data through third-party apps.

Starting on June 15, Apple (AAPL) will require iCloud users to obtain app-specific passwords for any third-party programs that access iCloud data, Apple-tracking site MacRumors is reporting, citing a support e-mail the company sent to customers this week. The feature also means that iCloud users will need to activate enhanced password-authentication protocols to keep using third-party apps as they do now.

Apple’s iCloud is an Internet-based data repository that syncs information across user devices. App-specific passwords are designed to provide a layer of protection to the Apple ID credentials users need to log in to iCloud. Rather than share their Apple IDs and Apple ID passwords with third-party apps, users create a unique password solely for the program they’re using that will still allow them to sign in to iCloud. In the event the third-party app is hacked and user credentials stolen, Apple ID credentials will still be safe.

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Currently, Apple only requires app-specific passwords to those who have turned on two-factor authentication, a security protocol that requires a user to input both a password and a unique code sent to a smartphone or computer in order to access an account. Under the proposed change, all users will be required to employ app-specific passwords. It also means they’ll be required to turn on two-factor authentication.

According to the e-mail Apple Support sent to users, on June 15, anyone who links iCloud data to third-party apps will be automatically logged out of those apps that day. Users can then sign in again after generating an app-specific password for each program.

Once complete, users will have full access to their iCloud data through the third-party apps, but their Apple ID passwords will no longer be shared with those non-Apple programs.

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