Apple’s products have always been known for their data privacy. On June 7th, 2021, at the Apple WWDC event, various Apple products and features were released. It is evident that all Apple features like iOS 15, iPadOS 15,macOS Monterey and watchOS 8 are more privacy-focused than ever. Apple allows its users to have more control over how applications use their data and has introduced an iCloud+ subscription for private browsing experiences. Below are the privacy features announced by Apple at the WWDC21 event.
Enhanced privacy for private browsing and mailing applications
Apple is implementing mail privacy protection features on its inbuilt mailing application. This feature will prevent the marketers and senders from collecting users’ information by masking users’ IP addresses. This feature also ensures that marketers do not get notified when a user creates a new mail account. This feature is said to be supported across all Apple products including iPad and mac.
Apple provides private browsing on Safari by blocking trackers from accessing the user’s IP addresses. The already existing Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature that blocks unwanted tracking on websites is now being extended to protect users’ IP addresses as well.
iOS 15 is said to have an App Privacy Report feature that will enable users to see how frequently the access granted applications like GPS, camera, microphone, etc are collecting data in 7 days. Users will also be able to know with whom their data is being shared and understand how their data is being used and shared by an application. This feature is expected to be an update on iOS 15 and might not come out with the initial release.
When it comes to personal assistants, Siri will be an inbuilt feature. Apple believes that this might solve the issue of “unwanted audio recording”. The inbuilt Siri will be able to process routine tasks like making calls, opening applications and setting alarms and reminders without the internet connection. This feature can be enabled on iOS devices using Neutral Engine to enable efficient speech recognition models that are as efficient as server-based speech recognition models. However, this inbuilt Siri feature will only be available for iPhones with A12 Bionic and later versions.
iCloud+ is a new subscription service introduced by Apple. This service provides two premium features called iCloud Private Relay and Hide My Mail, that is specifically focused on privacy. iCloud Private Relay is used for privately browsing and this feature is supported only on Safari browser.
Private Relay is more like a VPN service. It makes sure that the outgoing traffic is encrypted and it is almost impossible for any third-party services to decrypt this information. The Private Relay feature sends the data on two internets where it masks the user information in one and encrypts the traffic in the other.
The Hide My Mail feature allows users to create an alias mail id that forwards directly to their inbox. This will enable the users to keep their personal mail id private. This Hide My Mail feature will be directly inbuilt on Safari, iCloud and Mail. This feature also enables the users to create and delete as many aliases as needed. Similar to the App Privacy Report feature, the Hide My Mail feature is also expected to be released as an update and does not roll out with the initial release for iOS 15, iPadOS15 and macOS Monterey.