UK military beefs up iPhone 7 to handle top-secret data

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The iPhone has beaten Android as the smartphone of choice for the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) which is modifying the device so that it can handle military-grade secrets.

British telecom giant BT is working with MoD to beef up the iPhone 7 so that it is capable of switching between two different modes. Personnel will be able to choose witch mode to use based on the sensitivity of the call they’re making.

iPhone tops Note 4

“We’ve been working very closely with [the Ministry of Defense] to develop what we’ve commonly called a ‘dual-persona device’,” said Steve Bunn, a technical manager for defense at BT. “Essentially it means you can have voice at official and at secret.”

BT says it’s also working to create “secure storage containers” on hold sensitive data on the iPhone 7. The company originally began the project using a Samsung Note 4. The security on it “wasn’t deemed to be sufficient” so military decided to switch to the iPhone 7.

One of the other main reasons MoD decided to go with the iPhone 7 is because it’s already widely used within the organization. It’s also a lot cheaper than super-secure military-grade phones like Sirin’s Solarin that costs $14,800.

Update: A spokesperson from BT reached out to Cult of Mac with the following statement:

“We would like to clarify that the MoD has not expressed any views about the suitability of dual-persona technology from specific handset/technology vendors and is prototyping a range of devices.”