Apple tries to set itself apart by focusing on your privacy, and that trend continued today with new privacy-minded features coming soon to its platforms. Email will be more secure, iCloud will get a privacy expansion, and soon, you can help a relative recover their forgotten password.
You may realize it, but email often comes with tracking pixels to determine if you opened a newsletter or ad, when you opened it, and even where you are. Apple’s Mail app will get an update that the company claims will hide your IP address and location, along with preventing the pixels from determining if and when you open an email. The company didn’t delve into how it’s accomplishing that (blocking images is one classic trick but introduces issues), but that’s likely to stave off the cat and mouse game. Pixel tracking will likely adapt to Mail’s new capabilities.
Along with improvements to Mail, Apple will introduce a new App Privacy Report feature that you’ll eventually find in iOS settings. App Privacy Report will let you know what data apps are accessing, like location, photos, camera, microphone, and contacts, during the last seven days. It’ll even show what third parties those apps are sharing 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 a random iCloud email address on the fly and provide that to sites requiring an email for signup. The generated email will forward to your real address, and you can disable it whenever you want. If you provide a different address to each service, you’ll know if your data gets sold.
Additionally, iCloud+ will let you add an unlimited number of cameras to HomeKit, and comes with unlimited storage for your camera feeds. And Safari will get new tracking-preventing features. Apple will encrypt your traffic before transmitting it, then send it through two separate internet relays to better hide your identity. And iCloud+ will support package detection. Despite the new name and features, iCloud+ is a free add-on to iCloud accounts with no price increase. Other privacy-minded features include on-device Siri speech recognition, secure pasting between apps, and enhanced photo library access.
Finally, Apple announced a new feature that should excite anyone that has ever help a relative with a forgotten password. Soon you’ll be able to mark a family member as a recovery contact for passwords. And when the relative forgets their password (again), they can choose to send you a recovery code that will get them access to their account. It’s a bit like two-factor authentication for password recovery, and you are the second factor. It sounds a lot better than taking several guesses that ultimately lock the account.
The new privacy features will launch with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey when they release in the fall.