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S. Korean Military to Ban iPhones, Smartwatches Over Security Concerns

South Korea is considering prohibiting the use of iPhones and smart wearable devices inside military buildings due to increasing security concerns.

A group of unnamed high-ranking military officials told The Korea Herald these devices could be used to acquire sensitive information through features such as voice recording.

Such information may include formal military communications, such as meetings, office conversations, business announcements, and consultations with the public.

Private phone calls inside military buildings could also be vulnerable to potential leaks because of iPhones and smartwatches.

The sources said Android-based smartphones like Samsung’s Galaxy series will be exempted from the ban.


The Republic of Korea Air Force was the first to implement the comprehensive ban, issuing an internal announcement on April 11 instructing its personnel to avoid using iPhones inside its facilities.

It stated these devices do not fully comply with the restrictions specified by the National Defence Mobile Security, a military mobile device app that secures a smartphone’s camera, network connection, and microphone.

Apple does not allow third-party apps to control the inherent features of iPhones, except for the camera.

According to the sources, there is an ongoing review about potentially extending the ban to all subordinate units of the South Korean military.

Officials from the army, navy, and air force have reportedly conducted joint meetings to discuss the measure.

If implemented across all military units, the ban would affect almost 500,000 personnel in the South Korean military.

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