Apple just confirmed its long-awaited iOS 14 operating system update is coming, on September 16. Here are 3 brilliant new security and privacy features to expect, and one that will arrive a bit later than planned.
Apple’s iOS 14 is finally here, along with a load of brilliant new security and privacy features. The long-awaited iOS 14 operating system update was announced September 15 at Apple’s event and is expected to start hitting iPhones and iPads from September 16.
Due to its “walled garden” approach, Apple has always been thought of as a pretty secure option. But last year with the launch of iOS 13, Apple really began its privacy and security onslaught with stringent measures to stop firms such as Google and Facebook from slurping up vast amounts of user data.
Now, iOS 14 takes Apple’s approach one step further with major changes to prevent tracking and put people in control over their own data. This was highlighted in a recent privacy ad, which saw Apple state: “Some things shouldn’t be shared. iPhone keeps it that way.”
Here are some brilliant iOS 14 security and privacy features to expect—and one game-changing feature that’s missing but we should see in 2021.
Precise location controls
Apple’s iOS 14 comes with technology that allows you to give apps your approximate location, without revealing exactly where you are. This happens via a new toggle called Precise Location, and it means services such as weather apps can still gather the data they need to function properly without you having to give away too much. The result: More granular control over privacy while keeping optimum functionality. Who says there has to be a trade-off.
Just be aware that the toggle will in most cases default to “on” so you’ll need to go through each app and switch it off if you don’t want it to know your exact location.
To control exact location for apps and Widgets in iOS 14, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services.
The ability to change your default browser
While it’s not a privacy or security change per se—Apple’s Safari browser is pretty good for security and privacy—the ability to change your default browser in iOS 14 is a welcome change for many. Some people prefer to use browsers such as Microsoft’s Edge and Firefox, which also do ok in the security and privacy stakes.
In addition, DuckDuckGo offers a Privacy Browser which allows people to search and browse privately, block trackers, and force encrypted connections. The firm claims its Privacy Browser’s simple design and tracker blocking abilities allow it to run faster than other browsers.
Indicator light if an app is accessing your camera or microphone
It’s already available on the Mac, but iOS 14 will now add a new feature that allows you to tell if an app is recording you using your camera or mic—via an indicator light in the status bar. At a time when everyone is using video chat apps, this is certainly a welcome addition.
Meanwhile iOS 14 also tells you when an app is reading your iPhone clipboard. The updated operating system was only in beta when it outed apps such as TikTok and LinkedIn for spying on iPhone clipboards.
What’s not coming (yet)…..
Opt in-only to tracking across apps and services
One of the most significant and game-changing iOS 14 privacy features that won’t happen quite yet is the need to opt in to allow apps to track you across services. Known as the identifier for advertisers (IDFA), a random device identifier is collected by Apple and used by people such as Facebook to serve you relevant ads. From iOS 14, Apple was planning to make tracking opt-in only with a pop up that asks you to choose between “Allow Tracking” or “Ask App Not To Track.”
Facebook and its advertising customers—many of them gaming companies—were in a major panic over this quite literally industry-changing privacy feature. Apple has therefore agreed to grant them more time to adjust.
It’s a win for them, but a lose for privacy and frankly, disappointing. Let’s hope this feature arrives soon in an iOS 14 update.