At WWDC 2023, Apple made big announcements about new technologies, such as their Vision Pro VR headset, the MacBook Air 15, iOS17, and MacOS Sonoma. But with privacy being a primary concern among device users nowadays, let’s take a look at how Apple is committing to delivering these products with security in mind.
Some of the latest privacy innovations include updates to Safari Private Browsing, Communication Safety, and Lockdown Mode. New software features such as Check In, NameDrop, and Live Voicemail have also been designed with security at their core.
Major Updates to Safari Private Browsing
Safari Private Browsing will become more secure than ever, protecting you against trackers and people who might have access to your device. Apple is using advanced tracking technology and fingerprinting protections to help prevent websites from using the latest techniques to track or identify a user’s device. Private Browsing now also locks when not in use, meaning that face ID or passcode verification is needed to view your Private Browsing window. Even if someone else is already using your device, they will need this second layer of authentication to view your private browser.
Photos Privacy Permission Improvements
The new photos picker feature will allow you to share specific photos with apps while keeping the rest of your library private. If apps ask for access to the whole library, you will be shown more information about what you are actually sharing with the app, with occasional notifications that reminder you of your choice.
Link Tracking Protection in Messages, Mail, and Safari Private Browsing
Websites sometimes add extra information at the end of their URLs to monitor user activity across other websites. When you share these types of links on Messages and Mail, the links will automatically be altered to remove this extra information.
Communication Safety, which was designed to warn children when receiving or sending photos in Messages that contain nudity, will now cover video content in addition to images. Additionally, the warning will be available when receiving an AirDrop, a FaceTime video message, and the photos picker to choose content to send.
The new API will also allow developers to integrate Communication Safety into their apps. All of the image and video processing for Communication Safety occurs only on the device, meaning neither Apple nor third parties have access to the content.
Using the Sensitive Content Warning feature, adults can also be warned before viewing unwanted nude images and videos through Messages, AirDrop, FaceTime, and the Phone app.
If you are targeted by spyware, Lockdown Mode hardens device defences and strictly limits certain functionalities, significantly reducing the attack surface. This will be supported on both iOS and watchOS.
New Apple Features That Prioritise Security
Check In enables you to automatically send selected friends and family members a message when you’ve reached a destination safely. It recognises when you are not making progress towards your destination and checks in with you. If you don’t respond, Check In shares your location, battery level, cell service status, and the last active time using your iPhone with selected contacts. Check In is completely encrypted so only you and your selected contacts can view the information, not Apple or any third parties.
The new NameDrop feature allows you to hold your iPhone near another iPhone to share contact information. You can choose the specific contact details you’d like to share and what you don’t want to share. This new feature uses end-to-end encryption, so you can share details securely.
Live Voicemail allows you to avoid spam, scams, or calls that are invasive of privacy. When someone calls and starts to leave a message, you will see a live transcription as the caller speaks. If you want to speak with the caller, you can then pick up the call. Thanks to the power of the Neural Engine, Live Voicemail occurs entirely on device, and this information is not shared with Apple.
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