As he does every year, Apple took advantage of its global developer conference (WWDC) to show some of the changes to its software this year and, unsurprisingly given Apple’s track record, privacy and security are high on the agenda again.
IOS 15 update for your iPhone and the macOS 12 Monterey update for your Mac will arrive later this year, along with enhancements designed to protect your data and devices from damage. Many of these enhanced privacy and security features must be applied together on both operating systems.
One of the apps that is getting a lot of attention this time around is To post, Apple’s default email client on mobile and desktop. A new feature called Mail privacy protection aim it tracking pixels Embedded in many emails: When you open your messages, these pixels are loaded and can return information such as your location and choice of software platform to the sender.
Marketers, newsletter editors, and many in between use these tracking pixels to see how many people are opening their messages, but Mail Privacy Protection stops this data collection. It won’t be enabled by default, but it will be highlighted as an option when upgrading to iOS 15 and macOS 12 Monterey. Also, since tracking pixels are only images, this protection applies to all downloadable images in emails. They are not exactly “blocked”, but routed through a relay that suppresses this data collection but aims to preserve your end-user experience.
Likewise, Apple allows you to more closely monitor the apps you have installed with these software updates. Through a feature called Application privacy report, you’ll be able to see how many times an app has accessed your location, photos, camera, microphone, and contacts over the past week.
If you’re wondering if an app really needs the permissions it’s asking for, this privacy report should be able to tell you. The report will also list which areas the app is in contact with and how often, giving users a better idea of how much data is being entered and transmitted.
As for Apple’s digital assistant, Siri, more of the voice recognition and command processing work will be done on your specific device. This reduces the amount of data sent back to Apple and stored in the cloud, meaning it’s less likely that someone else will be able to listen, even if you’re mainly just checking the weather, setting alarms, and adding items to your to- do list.