Apple calls out Facebook and Google, woos users with privacy features
Apple is looking to stop the practice where third-party applications often share valuable data when users sign in with their accounts, particularly from Google and Facebook.
“At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right,” said Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi at this year’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). On June 4, Apple rolled out a number of new features with a focus on privacy.
Sign in with Apple
‘Sign in with Apple’ is a new function users will be seeing. The company stressed that this web login feature will protect a user’s information unlike its rivals – Facebook and Google.
Monetisation is a simple process. In essence, users cannot utilise an application without giving away their details. Apple disagrees. Ideally, one can sell their phone and allow users to be as private as they want. Apple showed off software changes in the new iOS that turns it into an ‘asocial’ network. This tool mimics Facebook but minimises oversharing.
Applications that offer third-party logins will have to integrate with Apple’s new sign-in feature. This allows users to hide their email addresses and other details from developers by creating dummy ones. Instead of providing personal email addresses, users can allow the iOS for dummy ids. Resulting transactions will be rerouted to the user’s main address.
One of the most valuable data collected from users is their location. Most applications nowadays force location to be turned on. The display box will read ‘Allow access to location for personalised content’ but this places one at risk of being tracked.
To control location data collection, three options are available in iOS 12, namely, Never, While Using the App, Always. In the new iOS 13, an additional control setting is available -- Once. This allows the application to access location just once. If the app needs the data again, it must request for permission again.
Additionally, Apple has doubled down on third-party applications that exploit the use of WiFi and Bluetooth to find out users’ location. This could reduce unnecessary tracking and allow users to be aware that applications are collecting data in the background.
The Photos application in Apple stores metadata such as location and timing. There are third-party applications that allow removing the metadata before sharing. But Apple has included this in the iOS 13. It will prompt users that they are about to share metadata information on their photos.
Underneath all these privacy features, Apple is aiming at building brand loyalty amongst its customers by targeting what they need – to be vocal without revealing their identity.