Apple’s iOS 15 was released this summer, and the tech giant was expected to take steps to improve its privacy information. We first saw the operating system in person at the company’s annual developer conference, WWDC 2021, after which it went into public beta for months and underwent a variety of tweaks before its final release. It is now available for download.
Once you’ve updated to iOS 15, you’ll have access to Apple’s new FaceTime features, which Android and PC users can use for the first time. You also get iMessage enhancements that make it easier to keep track of links and photos sent by your friends.
In short, June’s privacy changes give you more control over the data you share with third parties and how those apps use data from your Apple devices. Changes also limit data collection in some cases.
These privacy changes may not have a material impact on your daily life, except in the case of Siri, but they are worth being aware of. You have the option to change how your Apple device interacts with the internet, especially third parties who need your personal information.
Most of the new privacy features are free, but not all. To take advantage of the others, you’ll need to own a newer Apple device or spend some cash to buy one.
In-device audio processing makes Siri more secure
According to Apple, one of the most serious data protection concerns for voice assistants has been resolved with iOS 15.
Unlike Amazon Echo and almost all of its competitors, Siri no longer sends your audio data to servers for processing. Instead, it processes the sound of your voice directly on your Apple device thanks to the speech recognition on the device.
Apple stated that iPhones and iPads will use the processing power of Apple devices to analyze speech, meaning Siri no longer needs an active internet connection to function. What this means for you is that Siri will respond to simple commands like setting an alarm, setting a reminder, or launching an app while you’re offline. This update does not include the ability to ask Siri to do a web search.
Aside from the increased privacy, you can expect Siri to respond faster to some requests because the audio processing can be done offline.
As I said earlier, some privacy features have a catch. In this case, only iPhones and iPads stacked with the A12 Bionic chip can use Siri’s audio processing at launch.
The Privacy Report app informs you about third-party access to data and sensors
If you liked Apple’s app tracking transparency feature, you will likely like the app privacy report too.
The report will be available as a new section in the settings and give an overview of how apps deal with your privacy. You can see when certain apps are requesting access to features like the camera and microphone, and where or with whom your data has been shared in the past seven days, which gives iOS 15 another level of transparency.
Privacy for Safari and Mail: Hides your IP address
The mail data protection feature, which will soon be available in the Mail app, limits the number of data senders recorded from you when you open promotional e-mails or newsletters.
In particular, the function enables you to hide your IP address so that it cannot be connected to other online activities or for determining your location. This feature can prevent spam email marketers from knowing more about your email or internet activity.
Apple described it:
“In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection prevents senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they are opening an email and masks their IP address. Address so that it cannot be linked to other online activities or used for location determination.
Apple also stated that IP address obfuscation will be implemented in Safari.
The private relay function of iCloud Plus encrypts the web traffic
Apple also announced that iCloud Plus paid subscribers will get some new privacy features.
One of these is Safari’s private relay feature, which is designed to hide a user’s browsing activity from advertisers and ISPs. It does this by encrypting the traffic that leaves an Apple device so that it cannot be intercepted by third parties, including Apple, who can then read what it is looking for.
The second function is called “Hide my email”. If you’re a subscriber, when you sign up for things like: For example, enter a new account with an online retailer, enter a randomly generated email address, and everything that is sent will be forwarded straight to your actual email address. According to the plan, fewer companies will have direct access to people’s email addresses.