Apple has always been at the forefront of user privacy and security. From the introduction of per-app location access all the way back in iOS 4, to the recent battle with Facebook about App Tracking Transparency, Apple has been known to put the safety of user data above all else.
With iOS 15, Apple demonstrates its continued commitment to privacy with a whole host of new features that benefit every user. Let’s do a rundown of each new feature and talk about what they mean for you.
Mail Privacy Protection
Privacy Protection is built into the Mail app and prevents senders from collecting information about users by using invisible pixels. Using the new feature, users can prevent senders from knowing when they open an email and hide their IP address so it cannot be linked to other online activities or be used to determine their location.
(Upgraded) Intelligent Tracking Protection
Intelligent Tracking Protection has been a part of Safari since 2017. It’s a tracking prevention feature that uses machine learning to identify and stop website tracking, without breaking the website’s normal functionality.
In iOS 15, Intelligent Tracking Protection has been given an upgrade. Now, it can hide your IP address from tracking systems, which prevents data trackers from building a profile of you based on your website browsing habits.
App Privacy Report
With iOS 15, Apple provides you with greater transparency and control regarding the information and services that your apps are allowed to use.
The App Privacy Report is a dashboard that gives you at-a-glance information about the data and sensor access that each app is given. You can go into each app and see how often they’ve used the access that you’ve granted them over the last seven days. You’re also given an option to disable their permissions if something feels off.
On top of this, the App Privacy Report also lets you look at the network activity of each app, including which websites they’re contacting whenever they connect to the Internet.
This dashboard is a powerful complement to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature that was introduced earlier this year. This feature produces a pop-up whenever you launch an app that tries to track your user data. The pop-up provides information on what the app is trying to track, and why it needs that information. You’re then free to allow or deny it permission to track you.
Every app is required to use the App Tracking Transparency feature to ask for tracking permission. This way, you’ll always be informed if an app is trying to track you. You can also apply a blanket permission that automatically approves or denies tracking permission for any new apps.
With the new dashboard, you can review all the tracking permissions you’ve given through App Tracking Transparency, and manage them as you need to.
On-device Speech Recognition
In the past, using Siri meant sending clips of your voice over the Internet, straight to Apple’s servers. Many privacy experts have concerns about voice assistants because of this—for example, are these audio clips stored? For how long? Can they be listened to by other people?
But Siri is getting an overhaul in iOS 15 that addresses many of these concerns. With the new update, most Siri requests are now being processed right on your iPhone, even without an Internet connection. That means that in most cases, the audio clips of your voice never leave your device.
iCloud users rejoice—your subscriptions are getting even more features, at no extra cost!
Most of these features are powerful, privacy-related value-adds that help you keep your information safe.
For example, you now have Private Relay, an anti-tracking feature that works with Safari. When browsing with Safari, all of your Internet traffic is encrypted, so that anyone snooping on your data won’t be able to see what you’re sending. It also puts two servers between your traffic, which prevents even your ISP from tracking your browsing history.
Another feature is Hide My Email, which allows you to make random email addresses that redirect to your main email. You can use Hide My Email when you need to access a site that requires you to give an email address, but don’t want to give it your actual contact information.
If you’re an Apple HomeKit user, you have even greater security than before, thanks to the new and improved HomeKit Secure Video feature. It encrypts all of your security footage from the moment they’re processed to the time they’re uploaded to iCloud. This way, only you can access your secure cameras’ video files.
iOS 15: More Secure Than Ever
These privacy features in the new iOS 15 update show that Apple is constantly putting its users first in the battle for privacy. They represent a beacon of hope in a time when it seems that everyone is out to get your private information. Now that you know what’s been added, you can definitely rest assured that you’re on one of the best privacy-centric mobile platforms.
Got any privacy news or tips for us? Share them in the comments!
And don’t forget to let others know about Everything You Need To Know About iOS 15’s New Privacy Features, so that they too can feel safe about browsing the web with their iPhones.