Apple is trying to differentiate itself by focusing on your privacy, and that trend continued today with new privacy-focused features coming soon to its platforms. Email is getting more secure, iCloud is getting a privacy extension, and soon you̵
You may realize it, but email often comes with tracking pixels to determine if you’ve opened a newsletter or ad, when you opened it, and even where you are. Apple’s Mail app is getting an update that the company claims will hide your IP address and location and prevent the pixels from determining if and when you open an email. The company hasn’t delved into how it does that (blocking images is a classic trick but introduces problems), but that will likely stave off the cat-and-mouse game. Pixel tracking will likely adapt to Mail’s new capabilities.
In addition to improvements to Mail, Apple will introduce a new app privacy reporting feature that you will eventually find in the iOS settings. App privacy report lets you know what data apps have access, such as location, photos, camera, microphone, and contacts, over the past seven days. It even shows which third parties those apps share data with.
Apple is also upgrading iCloud to iCloud+ with new features like Hide My Email. Like other services, Hide My Email lets you generate any iCloud email address and pass that on to sites that require an email address to sign up for. The generated email will be forwarded to your real address and you can turn it off whenever you want. By providing a different address for each service, you’ll know if your data is being sold.
Plus, with iCloud+, you can add an unlimited number of cameras to HomeKit and get unlimited storage for your camera feeds. And Safari is getting new features to prevent tracking. Apple encrypts your traffic before sending it and then sends it through two separate internet relays to better hide your identity. And iCloud+ supports packet detection. Despite the new name and features, iCloud+ is a free add-on for iCloud accounts with no price increase. Other privacy-focused features include on-device Siri voice recognition, secure pasting between apps, and improved access to the photo library.
Finally, Apple announced a new feature that should excite anyone who has ever helped a family member with a forgotten password. You’ll soon be able to mark a family member as a password recovery contact. And when the family member forgets their password (again), they can choose to send you a recovery code that gives them access to their account. It’s a bit like two-factor authentication for password recovery, and you’re the second factor. It sounds a lot better than taking several guesses that end up locking the account.
The new privacy features will launch in the fall with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey.