Last year, with its iOS 14, the company had released a feature that would require apps to gain explicit permission from users to track their data
Apple privacy updates: During its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC 2021), tech giant Apple gave a glimpse of the next OS updates that it would be releasing for its devices. The iPhone maker announced the updates for its iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac. However, by the previews Apple shared, it looks like the company has upheld its commitment to privacy with the new updates as well. Cupertino announced iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8, which the company claims would let users control and manage their data in a better manner. While last year, with its iOS 14, the company had released a feature that would require apps to gain explicit permission from users to track their data, this year Apple said that they are bringing in innovative features to ramp up user security.
- Apple bringing some macOS Monterey features ‘exclusively’ to M1 Macs as it works to slowly transition away from Intel
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- iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 and macOS Monterey announced: Complete list of Apple devices eligible for update
Here’s a look at the new security measures that Apple is bringing in:
- A new feature called Mail Privacy Protection is being incorporated into the Mail app in order to stop senders from being able to use invisible pixels for data collection. As per Cupertino, with this feature, users would be able to stop senders from knowing when they have opened the email, and would also mask the IP addresses of the users so that the sender cannot determine their online activity and also cannot identify the users’ location.
- Apple has been using Intelligent Tracking Prevention so that users on its Safari browser are not tracked by others, and this was done with the help of on-device machine learning. Now, the company said that it was making the technology stronger. Trackers would also not be able to see the IP address of the users now, meaning that trackers would not be able to use this information to track their movement across websites.
- With the new OS updates, users would also be able to see an ‘App Privacy Report’ in their Privacy settings. Here, they would be able to see the tracking permissions they have granted to each app, while also finding information regarding the frequency of each app using such permission. They would have the option to modify these permissions, and would also get access to the third-party domains with which each app is contacting to see where their data might be getting shared.
- Apple has also said that the processing of users’ audio requests to Siri would be carried on their iPhone or iPad itself with the help of on-device speech recognition. This is Cupertino’s attempt to address the concerns of unwanted audio recording that many users have had with voice assistants. With iOS 15 or iPadOs 15, requests like opening apps, setting alarms and timers, changing settings etc would not require an active internet connection.
Apart from this, Cupertino is also enhancing its privacy with iCloud+, which would get features like Hide My Email, iCloud Private Relay, and expanded support for HomeKit Secure Video, without the company levying any additional charge. Among these, Private Relay is a service for internet privacy that Apple has built into the iCloud for a more secure and private way of connecting to the internet. Private Relay would encrypt all of the traffic leaving a user’s device on Safari browser so that it can only be accessed by the user and the website. This would not be accessible to even Apple or the network provider of the user.
Moreover, Hide My Email would let users choose the option to assign random, unique email addresses which would forward to their personal email address. This feature is being built in directly to Mail, iCloud and Safari settings, and users would be able to create as well as delete any number of addresses as needed.