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Apple is mandating HTTPS connections for iOS apps by 2017

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Your iPhone apps are about to get a whole lot more secure. Apple launched App Transport Security a year ago, a service that enforces secure connections between apps and servers. Now, however, the company is making use of ATS mandatory.

All apps on the App Store will have to use the security feature by January 1, 2017, according to a report from TechCrunch.

“Today, I’m proud to say that at the end of 2016, App Transport Security is becoming a requirement for App Store apps,” said Apple’s head of security, Ivan Krstic, during a presentation at WWDC. “This is going to provide a great deal of real security for our users and the communications that your apps have over the network.”

So what is ATS? ATS first showed up in iOS 9, and when it’s enabled it basically forces apps to connect to the web using HTTPS connections, which are more secure than the standard HTTP connections. What that means is that when data is being transferred from an app to a server and back, it’s encrypted.

Of course, plenty of apps already use ATS — it was enabled by default in iOS 9, however developers were able to switch it off if they so chose. It was likely only a matter of time before the feature was mandatory, and while it may take a few tweaks by developers to enable ATS, users will be much more secure.

Apple isn’t the only one making moves into securing data online. Ever since the Edward Snowden revelations there has been a movement to secure data, something that Apple has taken very seriously, as demonstrated by its battle against the FBI over access to user iPhones — Apple encrypts all of the data on an iPhone, meaning that agencies like the FBI are unable to access that data.

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