In our connected world, privacy is more important than ever. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said privacy is a fundamental human right which is why the company he leads has doubled down in its commitment to protecting that right.
Apple has always been at the forefront of protecting customer privacy.
It has just published a series of white papers on exactly how it does this when it comes to connecting with third party apps, location services, photos and browsing the web with Safari.
The most recent operating system updates – iOS 13, iPadOS 13, macOS Catalina and Apple Watch OS 6 – all include new and enhanced privacy and security features.
Apple has launched a new section of its website detailing how your privacy is protected.
Your location and the places you frequent can reveal a lot about you.
Apple now gives users control over who they share their location data with along with when that data is being shared and for how long.
If an app on your iPhone wants to access your location it will give you three options – allow while using up, allow once or don’t allow.
And even if you do grant access you can turn that off in the settings.
A feature called Significant Locations allows Apple’s devices like the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and iCloud to learn places that are important to you to provide location related features and information which is processed on the device.
But that data is fully encrypted and never shared with third parties and cannot be read by Apple.
SIGN IN WITH APPLE
This is a new feature that was introduced in iOS 13 that gives users a fast and easy way to sign up to new apps and services without actually sharing your email.
Instead a random address is created so you can still interact with that particular app or service without having to fill out any forms or share any personal information.
If an app or website has a Sign In With Apple button – it will provide a one tap sign-in process for users without having to share their information which may be compromised and supplied to third parties.
For app developers, this easy sign in process may result in more customer responses if they know their details are protected.
iPhone users usually have hundreds, if not thousands, of images on their device that help them recall their favourite memories.
All the processing used to sort your images on your iPhone is done on the device.
But photos can provide a lot of detail if they are shared.
Now the user has complete control of what they share with another user or a third-party app.
It is now possible to remove the location of the photo or video and choose whether you want to include all the photo’s meta data.
Apple has designed its Safari browser to protect user privacy where it is most at risk – on the internet.
One of the new privacy features is Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and is designed to minimise the amount of data collected and shared by Apple and third parties.
The big benefit of this is to protect users from cross site tracking which is designed for advertising purposes.
Apart from blocking cookie-based tracking, the Safari browser can also prevent advertisers and sites from creating an online fingerprint which can be used to track things like the device you’re using, your browser’s configuration and plug-ins that have been installed.
Apple’s digital voice assistant is on the lookout to learn what you need so it can provide the best possible information and responses.
And sometimes these recordings are shared with the company with your permission in a bid to improve Siri’s speed and efficiency.
But none of that information is associated with your Apple ID so the company will never know who you are.
Users also have the option of not sharing your queries and recordings through Siri with Apple.
Siri is one of the only Apple services that requires an internet connection to process rather than being handled on the device.
The new Find My feature is a combination of Find my iPhone and Find my Friends and makes it possible to locate devices even if they are offline.
It does this by sending out Bluetooth signals which can be detected by nearby Apple devices.
These devices then relay their detected location back to the owner.
This information is encrypted and can only be displayed for the user.
Apple does not know the location of the device or your identity.
Health data is also highly sought after but iPhone users are in complete control of the information in the Health app and only they can decide who they’d like to share it with.
Apple Pay has become a fast, easy and – more importantly – and even more secure way to make payments with your Apple products.
No credit card information is ever shared with the vendor.
Instead a unique account number is created.
And, of course, Apple will never know or have access to that information which is stored securely on your device and doesn’t go anywhere.