Earlier this week during a security presentation at WWDC, Apple revealed that iOS apps have until January 1, 2017, to enable a security feature called App Transport Security.
ATS was initially released with iOS 9, and it makes apps utilize HTTPS connections instead of HTTP connections when connecting to the internet. The more secure connection type authenticates connections and encrypts data relaying, meaning data can’t be easily read if accessed.
The feature is very important in messaging and banking apps, but soon ATS will be mandatory across all apps offered within Apple’s App store.
At this time, ATS is opt-in, enabling apps to send unsecured data via the internet. Moving to HTTPS connections ties in with Apple’s position on privacy, best displayed with the rejection to unlock an iPhone utilized by the shooters in the San Bernardino massacre.