At the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2020, Apple had a bunch of exciting new announcements — from the transition of Mac to Apple Silicon to the latest versions of their operating systems: iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and macOS Big Sur. While, at large, the Cupertino-giant has introduced a range of new features and performance improvements across the board, its stand on user privacy and security doubles this time around with the addition of new features. Here’s everything you need to know about the new privacy and security features coming to all Apple operating systems.
1. New Privacy Information on macOS Big Sur
A major Privacy-oriented feature on macOS Big Sur is the addition of increased transparency and control over the user’s privacy information. The latest iteration of macOS to power the current and upcoming generation of Macs will feature food-nutrition-style inspired labels for privacy, which will offer detailed information in the App Store to inform users about the privacy practices of the apps before downloading them. In a nutshell, these insights can include details regarding the type of data that the apps collect — contact information, usage, location — and information about whether the data is shared with third parties for tracking.
2. Privacy Report on Safari
Coming to macOS Big Sur, on Safari, the new Privacy Report feature aims to offer insights into how Safari protects the browsing data of users across the web. So users can now get a report of various website trackers that the browser has blocked by itself — with just a single click. Furthermore, leveraging the power of extension, which is a new update to Safari, users can decide which websites a Safari extension can work with. Thus, giving them more control over the data that these extensions share.
3. Enhanced Privacy Features on iOS 14 and iPadOS 14
Slated to appear on both iPadOS 14 and iOS 14, the new enhanced privacy features promise to offer increased transparency and control to the end-user over the way their personal information is handled by various apps. For this, Apple is asking app developers to submit self-reported privacy practices, which it fill feature on the product page of the apps on App Store to offer users insights into how their data is used by an app. To keep things simple, the company has asked developers to submit their reports in a simple and easy-to-understand format, thus eliminating any ambiguity around their data usage policy. When it comes to tracking users, the new features will require the developer to explicitly obtain permission from users before tracking them.
Furthermore, the enhanced privacy features also offer users the option to choose to share the kind of location with the app developer. Users can now share either their approximate location — if they have doubts with an app’s data usage policy or choose to share their precise location — if they wish to.
4. Camera and Microphone indicator on iPhone and iPad
Similar to enhanced privacy features, another crucial addition coming to iOS 14 is an indicator in the status bar, which seems to be inspired by the one found on Mac. Essentially, the indicator is an orange dot that appears on the status bar when an app uses the front camera or microphone on your device. Thus, helping you determine the app if any, that secretly tries to access the front camera or microphone.
With the announcement of a series of privacy-focused features across all its operating systems, Apple has once again stood by its claims on user privacy and security. Especially at a time when some of the biggest tech conglomerates are facing lash out for reckless behavior and policies related to the fair use of private user data.