What you need to know
- Apple announces some major privacy updates at WWDC.
- The updates focus on Mail, Siri, and iCloud.
Apple has announced some major updates to its privacy protections across its user experiences at WWDC21.
"Privacy has been central to our work at Apple from the very beginning," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering. "Every year, we push ourselves to develop new technology to help users take more control of their data and make informed decisions about whom they share it with. This year's updates include innovative features that give users deeper insights and more granular control than ever before."
The first thing that Apple is focusing on with privacy is Mail Privacy Protection for iCloud Mail. The new feature hides your IP address from senders so you can't be linked to other online activity. It will also prevent them from receiving location data or see exactly when you opened the email.
Apple is also now hiding your IP address in Safari, which means you can't be linked to other online activity or have your location tracked.
These anti-tracking measures are also being added to the App Privacy report, those nutrition labels that show how private-focused apps are in the App Store. You can now even see what third-party domains the app is contacting so you can see where your data is going.
Siri is also getting some privacy improvements this year. Apple is bringing on-device speech recognition to Siri so that, by default, your audio interaction with Siri never leaves your devices. You'll also be able to now make a lot more requests from Siri without needing an internet connection. These new features will also mean that Siri will get much faster at answering your requests as well.
iCloud is even getting in on the privacy updates this year. You'll now be able to add a recovery contact like a family member or friend so, if you forget your password, you can send a code their way to help you get back into your account. Apple is also supporting legacy accounts so you can request access for deceased relatives to get photos and things that are important for the family to have access to after the person has passed away.
Apple is also introducing a new service called iCloud+ with is basically a privacy relay. The traffic leaving your devices is encrypted and you can choose to do things like hiding your email. The service also supports some of the things you would expect like HomeKit Secure Video. It will be included in the existing iCloud prices.
Apple says that it views privacy as a human right, and it certainly doubled down on that idea at WWDC this year.
All of the new features announced today will be available to developers as a beta starting today, to public beta users in July, and to all users this fall.