Apple today previewed powerful new privacy protections in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8, which help users better control and manage access to their data. These features represent the latest innovations in Apple’s legacy of privacy leadership, as the company has continually expanded its commitment to privacy and encouraged change across the industry with features like App Tracking Transparency and Privacy Nutrition Labels on the App Store.
“Privacy has been central to our work at Apple from the very beginning,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “Every year, we push ourselves to develop new technology to help users take more control of their data and make informed decisions about whom they share it with. This year’s updates include innovative features that give users deeper insights and more granular control than ever before.”
1. Protect Data from Third Parties
In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.
For a number of years, Intelligent Tracking Prevention has helped protect Safari users from unwanted tracking by using on-device machine learning to stop trackers while allowing websites to function normally. This year, Intelligent Tracking Prevention is getting even stronger by also hiding the user’s IP address from trackers. This means they can’t utilize the user’s IP address as a unique identifier to connect their activity across websites and build a profile about them.
Check Up on App Privacy
With App Privacy Report, users can see how often each app has used the permission they’ve previously granted to access their location, photos, camera, microphone, and contacts during the past seven days.1 User can check whether this makes sense to them, and take action by going to the app in Settings if it doesn’t. Users can also find out with whom their data may be shared by seeing all the third-party domains an app is contacting.
Process Audio of Siri Requests on Device
With on-device speech recognition, the audio of users’ requests is processed right on their iPhone or iPad by default. This addresses one of the biggest privacy concerns for voice assistants, which is unwanted audio recording. For many requests, Siri processing is also moving on the device, enabling requests to be processed without an internet connection, such as launching apps, setting timers and alarms, changing settings, or controlling music.
Additional Features for Users and Developers
These releases also feature powerful new tools that help developers enhance app functionality while preserving user privacy.
- With share current location, users can easily share their current location with an app just once, without giving the developer further access after that session. Developers can customize the share current location button, and integrate it directly into their apps.
- With enhanced Photos limited library access, developers can offer smart functionality — like a recent photos folder for specific albums — even when a user has only granted limited access.
- With secure paste, developers can let users paste from a different app without having access to what was copied until the user takes action to paste it into their app. 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.