Apple Are Changing Their Privacy Features In iOS 15

At the Worldwide Developers’ Conference 2021, Apple announced a range of new features designed to protect your privacy, here's what you need to know.

According to Apple’s Craig Federighi, “At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right. We don’t think you should have to make a trade-off between great features and privacy. We believe you deserve both.” This is the philosophy that underpins Apple’s latest privacy features, coming to devices such as the iPhone, iPad and Mac.

Incoming emails sometimes use invisible pixels to report back on when you opened the email, your location and even your IP address. The Mail app in macOS 12, iPadOS 15 and iOS 15 includes a new feature called Mail Privacy Protection. When active, it hides your IP address and your location, and also prevents senders from knowing whether you’ve opened their email. 

In Safari, your IP address is hidden so trackers can’t use it to link your activities across several sites. This feature is coming to apps too, with the App Privacy Report which shows what apps accessed what data or sensors over the last seven days. This includes location, photos, camera, microphone, contacts and more. It also shows all the third-party web addresses an app is contacting.

Siri also gets a privacy boost. Apple’s multi-device digital assistant is already designed to process as much data on the device as possible, and with the powerful Neural Engine offered by Apple’s latest gear, speech recognition is also to be processed on your Mac, iPad or iPhone, without sending information to the cloud for analysis. It also speeds things up, and means you can make requests without an Internet connection.

These new privacy features will come to Apple’s range of devices with the launch of the new updated operating systems in the autumn 2021.

Ian Osborne

Ian has worked on computer and video games magazines since the legendary Crash and Zzap! 64 in the early Nineties, so he’s seen many changes over the years (including an expanding waistline and receding hairline). A lifelong Mac user, he bought his first Mac in the year 2000. It’s a testament to the resilience of the Mac that his mother is still using that computer to this very day.

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