Apple Announces New Privacy Features: Offline Siri, Mail Protection, App Privacy Reports

Apple today at its WWDC 2021 event announced new privacy features for all of its operating systems. The new privacy features are a part of its new iOS 15, iPadOS 12, macOS 12 Monterey, and watchOS 8 updates. These new features build on Apple’s current privacy features like App Tracking Transparency and takes them to a whole new level.

Mail Privacy Protection

We all receive thousands of marketing mails daily. Mail Privacy Protection hides your IP address, location, and if you opened up your email or not from phishy third-party trackers. You can even hide your IP address from websites in Safari. Apple says that these ‘intelligent’ trackers have been tracking without the user’s consent for a long time, and with these new features, third-party trackers cannot follow your activity across websites

App Privacy Report

Inspired by Safari Privacy Reports, Apple has introduced a new App Privacy Reports with iOS 15. It generates a report like Safari Privacy Reports about what app has access to which resource, how much data they send to third-party trackers, etc. It also generates a report how often an app has accessed your microphone, location, camera in the past week.

Offline Siri

Finally! Apple is bringing offline Siri. You can now set timers, switch themes (Dark or Light), play music, set alarms, and do more without the need for an internet connection with Siri. This is done thanks to on-device speech recognition which understands what you’re saying without the internet.

“This addresses one of the biggest privacy concerns for voice assistants, which is unwanted audio recording.”

iCloud+

 

iCloud+ adds a whole new bunch of privacy features to iCloud.

  • Private Relay: Private Relay is a feature of iCloud+ that encrypts outgoing data from your Apple device. Apple says that “no one between the user and the website they are visiting can access and read it, not even Apple or the user’s network provider.”
  • Hide My Email: This feature hides your actual email address from the receiver. You can share a random iCloud email address to the receiver and Apple will forward it to your iCloud Mailbox.
  • HomeKit Secure Video: This feature enables users to use iCloud’s secure, end-to-end encrypted storage for home security video. “HomeKit Secure Video also ensures that activity detected by users’ security cameras is analyzed and encrypted by their Apple devices at home before being securely stored in iCloud.”

Enhanced Limited Photo Library Access

When the user has given limited functionality to the app, developers can now ask for ‘Smart Functionalities.’ They can ask users for accessing something like a recent photos folder for specific albums.

Secure Paste

Secure Paste protects user privacy by not actually copying the item to be pasted until it has to be pasted. “When developers use secure paste, users will be able to paste without being alerted via the pasteboard transparency notification, helping give them peace of mind.”