Apple has announced a major security upgrade for iMessage – protection against quantum computers. Read along for how to get iMessage quantum security on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch, why it’s valuable, and more.

Ahead of iOS 17.4 arriving for all users, Apple has revealed what it calls the “most significant” cryptographic upgrade for iMessage called PQ3. The new iMessage quantum security is already available for iPhone in the iOS 17.4 beta.

For more details on what quantum security is, check out our full explainer:

How to enable iMessage quantum security

  1. Install the iOS 17.4 beta on your iPhone – full guide to get the free beta here
    • Install iPadOS 17.4, macOS 14.4, and watchOS 10.4 betas to upgrade on iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch
  2. Your iMessage will automatically be upgraded with PQ3 (quantum protection) over time
  3. Or you can wait until the public release of iOS 17.4 in early March

How long does the iMessage upgrade take?

  • Apple says that there will be an automatic “ramping up” of iMessage conversations switching to the post-quantum encryption protocol and that it will require devices on both ends of iMessages to be running iOS 17.4.
  • Apple predicts the PQ3 iMessage quantum security upgrade “will fully replace the existing protocol within all supported conversations this year.”

Why is PQ3 important now?

how to get iMessage quantum security 1
via Apple

Getting ahead of future quantum computer-based attacks is important. One of the present threats is an approach called “Harvest Now, Decrypt Later.” Threat actors steal data now and when more powerful computers are available in the future to crack existing encryption, they access the data. iMessage quantum security (PQ3) helps protect against this vulnerability and more.

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