Apple takes a jab at Facebook and Google with new privacy features

Apple takes a jab at Facebook and Google with new privacy features

Apple has had a strong focus on user privacy over the past few years, and while some of their announcements were little more than lip service, the company has pushed ahead with changes that advertising companies like Google and Facebook haven’t been entirely happy with. Last year, Apple started requiring all App Store apps to explain how they handle user data, and today the company announced even more privacy-related changes coming to the iPad, iPhone, and Mac.

First, Apple revealed that future updates to its Safari web browser would hide your IP address from trackers. It’s not exactly clear how Safari will block this given there are many methods sites can use to obtain your current IP address, including trackers on the web server that record IP addresses without running any scripts in the browser. Apple will list active trackers in Safari’s Privacy Report, similar to what Firefox and other browsers (besides Chrome) have offered for years. The company is also promising to hide your IP address and location in the Mail app, likely by blocking common tracking pixels.

iOS sceenshot with privacy report

Privacy report for installed application

Besides changes to Safari and Mail, Apple is working on an App Privacy Report in iOS (and iPadOS) that gives you can overview of how apps are tracking you. The report will display how often apps request access to the camera, microphone, contacts, and other permissions, as well as tracking third-party domains.

Finally, the Siri digital assistant is switching to on-device speech recognition, so audio recordings never leave your device. This also speeds up responses, since your devices don’t have to wait for a response from Apple’s servers. Amazon has been working on similar functionality for its Echo smart speakers.

Keep an eye on XDA’s coverage of WWDC 2021 for more breaking news on the iPad, iPhone, and other Apple platforms!

About author

Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also written for Android Police and PC Gamer. Get in touch with him at [email protected]