Apple just confirmed 3 awesome new security and privacy features coming in iOS 14 at its WWDC conference yesterday.
I’m not going to lie—I am very excited about the new iOS 14 security and privacy features announced at Apple’s annual conference WWDC yesterday. Sure, Apple has already been using privacy on the iPhone as a unique selling point for some time. Its business model is selling hardware, so Apple doesn’t have to rely on advertisers like its closest rival Google.
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Last year Apple’s iOS 13 really set the precedent for what was coming, with numerous security and privacy features—the option to better control the data collected by apps such as Facebook and Google, the ability to use security keys in its Safari browser and more.
But now, iOS 14 will see Apple adding some even more amazing security and privacy features to your iPhone when it drops this Fall. At WWDC yesterday, Apple outlined how “privacy is a fundamental human right,” as it revealed new iPhone features that help better control who can access and share your data.
Here are the top 3 that I am most excited to try in iOS 14.
Recording light when an app is using your iPhone’s camera or microphone
As a privacy and security enthusiast and keen Apple user, this is the feature I am most excited about. Sure, it’s not exactly new technology, but your iPhone will now light up with an indicator in the status bar when an app is recording you using your microphone or camera. This currently happens on your MacBook when its webcam is in use.
At a time when everyone is using video conferencing apps such as Zoom to stay connected, this important security feature couldn’t have come at a better time.
More transparency and control over app tracking
Did you know that apps track you across your iPhone, even when you are not using them? This is something Apple wants to help you to better control in iOS 14. Apple user privacy software manager Katie Skinner said during the WWDC keynote yesterday that tracking should be “transparent” and “under your control.”
Apple is therefore changing App Store policy so apps have to ask before tracking you across apps and websites owned by other companies.
The result is, in iOS 14, you’ll see when apps are trying to track you across services and you can choose between the options of “Allow Tracking” or “Ask App Not To Track.”
This won’t stop all tracking of course, but it’s a step in the right direction. You can also use apps such as Lockdown on your iPhone, which tell you how apps are tracking you on your device.
App developers now have to declare the data they collect
In iOS 14, app developers will now have to declare the data they collect. This, of course, should give you more clarity over the information that apps might be slurping up in the background, and will give you the power to choose whether to download and use an app in the first place, as well as better manage its permissions.
For now at least, this function is self-declaring, so Apple will be trusting developers to be truthful. However, if developers were to flout the rules, I’m sure Apple would find out and remove the offending app from its App Store pretty sharpish.
What’s different about Apple’s security and privacy features
Apple was already leading the way in security and privacy compared to Google’s Android, partly because it is in a better position to start with—it owns the entire ecosystem of software, hardware and services, and it makes its money from selling hardware, not advertising.
With these new features in iOS 14, Apple is ramping up even more to please a user base that is increasingly aware and concerned about privacy and security. “Transparent tracking may sound like an oxymoron, but Apple seems to be quite clear about what it’s doing and has realized the increased potential in monetising hardware instead of your data,” says ESET cybersecurity specialist Jake Moore.
When Apple focuses on upgrades to security and privacy, others tend to follow suit, says Moore. “This, in turn, flips the industry on its head to a new privacy conscious way of thinking.”
And one thing is for sure—these iOS 14 security and privacy features are certainly an exciting addition to your iPhone or iPad. Which is your favorite?