Apple appears to have completed an initiative designed to increase the security of its iCloud email service by adding end-to-end encryption for messages sent from me.com and icloud.com based on new data from Google’s Gmail. A recent report from Gmail’s security transparency project suggests that at least 95% of the messages sent to Gmail from users of iCloud mail is now encrypted, just one month after Apple initially promised that such a change would be coming. The data is current as of July 10 and its unclear how it may have shifted in the meantime.

The Cupertino California company is using industry-standard Transport Layer Security, or TLS, infrastructure for the encryption. With TLS, both sending and receiving servers as well as the email messages themselves can be verified for authenticity, nearly eliminating the possibility of email being unknowingly intercepted by a third party. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the public key cryptography that underpins TLS, both parties must support the feature in order for messages to remain unreadable. Messages sent from iCloud to private mail servers without TLS support, for instance, will still be delivered unencrypted.

This move is the latest in a series of technical alterations and public statements from Apple designed to restore public confidence in the wake of allegations from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that the company had cooperated with the US government. Most recently, Apple beat back accusations from Chinese state media that iOS’ location tracking functionality could be mined by foreign governments to reveal sensitive information or “even state secrets.” The company said the following in a response:

Apple is deeply committed to protecting the privacy of all our customers. Privacy is built into our products and services from the earliest stages of design. We work tirelessly to deliver the most secure hardware and software in the world.
Source: Google