iOS: Using S/MIME to send encrypted messages
iOS offers support for S/MIME, allowing you to send encrypted email messages.
Sending encrypted messages requires the recipient's certificate (public key); Mail accesses this certificate using one of two methods, depending on whether the recipient is in your Exchange environment. This article explains both methods.
Sending an encrypted message to someone in your Exchange environment
If the recipient is a user in the same Exchange environment, iOS will retrieve the necessary certificate for message encryption. iOS will consult the global address list (GAL) and your contacts. These steps describe the process.
- Compose a new message in Mail. Notice the lock and Encrypted designation at the top, verifying that S/MIME message encryption is enabled for your Exchange account.
- Begin addressing the message to a recipient in your Exchange organization.
- Mail consults the GAL to discover the recipient's S/MIME certificate.
- When Mail finds a certificate, a lock icon appears to the right of the recipient's contact name, and the address is highlighted in blue.
- If you add a recipient whose certificate Mail cannot find, that address is highlighted in red and an unlocked icon appears to the right of the recipient's address. The message designation will now show unlocked and Not Encrypted.
Sending an encrypted message to someone not in your Exchange environment
If the intended recipient is outside the sender's Exchange environment or if the sender is not using an Exchange account, the recipient's certificate must be installed on the device. Use these steps to do so.
- In a signed message from the intended recipient, tap the sender's address button ("Anne Johnson" in the example below). Invalid signatures have a red question mark to the right of the sender's address. Mail indicates valid signatures with a blue check mark to the right of the sender's address.
- In the detailed Sender view, tap Trust. Note: This step applies only if the sender's certificate was issued by an unknown certificate authority.
- Now that the signature is trusted, tap View Certificate.
- To install and trust the sender's signing certificate, tap Install.
- The Install button changes color to red and reads Remove. Tap Done in the upper-left to complete the certificate-installation process.
- iOS associates this digital certificate with the recipient's email address, allowing for message encryption.
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Last Modified: Nov 27, 2014