WWDC 2021: All the privacy-focused features Apple announced

Apple is adding a slew of new privacy features to its upcoming iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8, as announced during the WWDC keynote. Apple will give users tighter control over how apps access their data and has introduced a new iCloud + subscription service, which offers a more private browsing experience. Let’s take a look at the main privacy features Apple announced.

Improved privacy in Mail app, Safari

Apple is adding “Mail Privacy Protection” to its native Mail application, which will ensure that marketers and senders cannot collect user information. As Apple executives explained at the conference, the new feature will ensure marketers don’t receive information when a user opens an email. Their IP address will also be masked so that it “cannot be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.” These changes will apply to the Mail app on all Apple devices, be it iPhone, iPad or Mac.

Apple also prevents trackers from accessing a user’s IP address on Safari. It already uses what it calls “smart tracking prevention” to make sure Safari blocks unwanted tracking on websites. This is now extended to a user’s IP address as well. The IP address can be used as a “unique identifier to log in” “a user’s activity on websites and create a profile about him”, which will no longer be possible.

Application privacy

Apple introduced nutritional privacy labels with iOS 14 and doubled app privacy with iOS 15. There is a new app privacy reporting feature, which allows users to see how often each app uses a previously granted permission, such as location, photos, camera, microphone and contacts over a seven day period. This will be added as a software update to iOS 15, so it may not be part of the operating system when it is first deployed.

More importantly, users will be able to see who their data is being shared with, as this app report will allow them to see any third-party domains that an app contacts. This will give users a better idea of ​​how their data is being used and shared by an application.

The app privacy report, Hide my emails, and Safari will now block IP addresses.

Siri asks to be treated on the device

Apple will use “on-device voice recognition” to ensure all audio is processed on the iPhone and iPad by default for Siri. Apple says this will solve a major problem for voice assistants, namely “unwanted audio recording.”

Siri will be able to process some requests without needing an internet connection. These include launching apps, setting timers and alarms, changing settings or controlling music, according to Apple.

It will use the Neural Engine on iOS devices to activate speech recognition models with the same high quality as server-based speech recognition.

However, it should be noted that on-device processing for Siri requests will be available on iPhones with A12 Bionic and later and will require the download of voice models. It will be available in German (Germany), English (Australia, Canada, India, United Kingdom, United States), Spanish (Spain, Mexico, United States), French (France), Japanese (Japan), Mandarin Chinese ( Mainland China) and Cantonese (Hong Kong).

ICloud + service

Apple is introducing a new subscription service called iCloud + which includes premium, privacy-focused features. Two of them are iCloud Private Relay and Hide My Email. It also adds extended support for HomeKit Secure Video so that video recording from various home cameras can be stored on this service at no additional cost with this subscription.

Private relay

Private Relay is a secure way to browse the Internet on Safari. It’s compared to a VPN service, but it’s quite different.

Firstly, Private Relay will only work while browsing Safari. This will ensure that all traffic leaving the device is encrypted, and Apple says that no one, no third party, even them, can decrypt it. Technically, with most VPN services, traffic security depends on the policies of the VPN provider.

With Private Relay, traffic is sent over two Internet relays to ensure it is secure and encrypted. Apple has no idea what websites you visit or access when this option is enabled. According to Apple, the first Internet relay “assigns the user an anonymous IP address that matches their region but not their actual location,” and the second “decrypts the web address they wish to visit and forwards it to their destination. “.

Apple Senior VP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi told FastCompany in an exclusive interview that they want to meet the VPN reliability challenge that most users face. “And so we wanted to deliver many of the benefits people are looking for when they’ve decided to use a VPN in the past, but not forcing that difficult and possibly perilous privacy compromise in terms of trust into a single middleman.” , “, did he declare.

The report also notes that those who run corporate VPNs will not experience any issues when running their corporate VPN and iCloud Private Relay at the same time. Keep in mind that unlike a VPN service, Apple’s Private Relay will not allow you to bypass geoblockers and access content, which is not provided in your region.

However, Apple will not offer the service in China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Belarus and Uganda citing local laws, according to a CNBC report.

Hide my email

This will allow users to share unique and random email addresses which will be forwarded to their personal inbox whenever they want to keep their personal email address private. This will come in handy when a website asks for your email address and you don’t want to share it.

The functionality will be integrated directly into Safari, iCloud and Mail settings. It will also allow users to create and delete as many addresses as needed at any time, helping users control who is able to contact them. Hide My Email will arrive in Mail as part of a software update to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and iCloud.com

ICloud + plans will start at Rs 75 per month for 50 GB with a HomeKit secure video camera, Rs 219 for 200 GB with up to five HomeKit secure video cameras and at Rs 749 for 2TB storage with unlimited cameras. HomeKit secure video.

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