Apple announced a lot of upcoming software improvements today. Well, in fact, they’re still announcing them as I type this. But one of the most exciting things — if you’re a nerdy skeptic like me — is the improvements they’ve announced to privacy and security. Here are some of the iOS 13 privacy and security improvements.
Apple has always given a lot of attention to protecting your data. It’s one of the biggest differences between them and their competitors, like Google. And it’s one of the big reasons I expect I’ll always use their products.
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So what’s new with privacy and security in the upcoming software releases?
1. Allow location just once
A big trick to protect your privacy is not to allow new apps to use your location. Because once you give them that access, they’ve always got it. Unless you turn it off again.
Well, not anymore!
Now you can choose to allow your location just once.
That means if you download an app that you don’t fully trust yet, you can only let it use your location for the day. Then if it needs it again, you can just allow it once again!
Perfect, now those apps can’t sneakily track you in the background.
2. Location tracking reports
For apps that do always have access to your location, your device will now give you a report on how they’ve been using that privilege.
Find out if they’re tracking you all the time or only when it’s relevant. And change your location preferences to reflect that.
This feature will not only alert you to apps that take advantage of your data, but hopefully it will work to change the trend in the technology industry. If enough people take notice of the reports, companies will have no choice but to stop using your location data nefariously.
3. Eliminate Bluetooth and Wi-Fi tracking
Some clever developers design apps that find a way around location access. Instead of using the GPS in your iDevice, they take advantage of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections around you to pinpoint your location that way.
This is like a backdoor to your location as it allows apps to track you without permission.
And Apple announced in WWDC today that this will no longer be possible in iOS 13. Hooray!
4. Sign in with Apple
It’s so common for us to see social account login buttons when signing up for new apps or websites. Login with FaceBook, or Login with Google. These options save us time — we don’t need to fill in all our details — but they sacrifice your privacy.
When you sign in using social login buttons, that app or website can gain access to your social account data. Not only that, but your login details are tied to that social account — if you delete your FaceBook account you also lose your login details to this new app or website.
That’s why Apple is introducing its Sign in with Apple button. It’s even quicker than the competitors since you can create an account using FaceID.
What’s more, unlike other social logins, Sign in with Apple keeps your data secure and only shares your name and email address with the app or website if you give permission.
You can even have Apple create a randomized email address for every account you sign up with, so your email stays private. They’ll forward emails to your account and let you turn the feature off whenever you get tired of hearing from that app.
5. HomeKit Secure Video
Smart home users frequently make use of security cameras or doorbell cameras to find out what’s going on around their house. Some people even have cameras to keep an eye on their pets — and probably to give them a distraction while at work.
The problem is that most of these security cameras send your video to the cloud for analysis — and this risks your privacy. After all, the cloud is just someone else’s computer.
With HomeKit Secure Video your security footage can be analyzed locally using your iPad, HomePod, or Apple TV. Then an encrypted version of it is stored on iCloud. This encryption means it’s not even viewable by Apple, let alone anyone else.
Apple is even offering free iCloud storage for your security clips from the last 10 days! Everyone gets it and it won’t use up your existing iCloud Storage.
5. HomeKit Secure Routers
Similar to your security camera footage being vulnerable to attack, home devices that connect through your router are also vulnerable to hackers.
That’s why Apple is pairing with select third-party manufacturers to bring you HomeKit Secure Routers. These routers add a firewall to your home network to protect it and all your devices from attack.
6. Privacy in Messages
No longer do you have to put up with unknown numbers and blank icons in your messages. Because now you can choose to share your name and a photo (or Memoji) with who you message — even if they don’t have your contact details.
That means they can do it with you too.
So a text from an old friend, or someone with a new number, won’t appear as a mysterious message that you choose to ignore for days on end.
What’s more, the Memoji’s can be edited to even finger detail with makeup, jewelry, more hairstyles options for your teeth and other accessories!
There’s certainly a lot to be excited about for the new releases from Apple, be sure to keep checking back here for all the latest updates.
Dan is a freelance writer based in South West England.
He spent two years supervising repairs as a Genius Admin for Apple Retail and uses that knowledge to keep our troubleshooting guides up to date.
Long before that, Dan turned to Apple products from a musical background. Having owned iPods for years, he bought a MacBook to learn sound recording and production. It was using those skills that he gained a first-class Bachelor of Science in Sound Technology.