Apple unveiled new privacy features at its annual software developer conference on Tuesday, highlighting several changes it will make this fall to limit data collection within its operating system.
Chief among the changes is a new service — called private relay — that would hide a user’s internet traffic from internet providers, advertisers and Apple itself. The service is similar to a virtual private network (VPN) and will remove users’ IP addresses and assign a new, temporary address before sending traffic to its destination website.
The change means that “no single entity can identify both who a user is and which sites they visit,” according to Apple. It will also likely create issues for data collectors that use IP addresses to collect consumer location data.
While the private relay service will be available to consumers in most major markets, Apple has said it will not be available to users in China due to regulatory reasons.
The new operating system is also making changes to its Mail app to limit the amount of data that marketers can collect around email open rates.
The update will feature an app privacy report, which spells out the types of data that apps collect from users. App privacy reports are becoming an accepted standard among device manufacturers — Google announced it would roll out a similar feature for Android users last month.
Apple has spent the last few years bolstering its consumer privacy features to help users limit the amount of data that’s collected from their devices. With the rollout of iOS 14 earlier this year, developers were required to give consumers a choice to share an approximate location versus a precise location, and to opt-in to data sharing. So far, data sharing opt-ins among iOS 14 users has been low, according to Flurry Analytics.
For a full analysis on this topic and a list of datasets that could be affected by the changes, look out for our upcoming Intelligence article on iOS 15 in the coming weeks.
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