iOS 14: Discover 6 features that will help preserve your privacy

iOS 14: Discover 6 features that will help preserve your privacy

Privacy protection is one of the focuses of the iOS 14 update, which gives more security to the information shared by the user

The new version of the iPhone operating system, the iOS 14, bring several improvements focused on protecting users' privacy. The emphasis on privacy has become one of the biggest differentials of the Apple compared to competitors in the technology market, such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

During the annual event for developers, WWDC 2020, Apple released a good part of these news and for that reason we list six that will change the way applications access personal information stored on your iPhone, and will give more visibility to privacy practices – or lack of them – of the sites you visit.

Limited photo sharing with apps

One of the current privacy issues of iOS that, so that the user can share a photo in an application, such as the Whatsapp or Instagram, he needs to give the app access to the entire photo library, even if he wants to publish only one of the images.

The image shows the new popup requesting access to the photos. The text says that the photo-sharing application Photo Send needs access to its photo library to allow sending photos to friends. The options presented are Select Photos, Allow Access to All Photos and Do Not Allow. New Select Photos option allows you to share with apps only the photos you want instead of the entire library.

From iOS 14, a new option will be offered to the user, Select Photos…, So he can choose only the photos he wants to share, keeping the rest of the library out of reach of the app.

Limited sharing of contacts with applications

The situation described above also applies to the contact list. In a private transport app, for example, to share the cost of running with a friend, you need to give the app access to your entire contact list. This is a feature that does not depend on such a broad permission, but iOS (and most operating systems) does not offer the user a way to limit it.

It is good to remember that, within a contact, we store sensitive information such as addresses, phones, e-mails and even the photo of people with whom we interact and, once shared, this information can be sent to third parties without our knowledge.

The image shows the virtual keyboard suggesting a contact in a photo sharing application. User types QuickType suggests the contact based on the name entered by the user.

On iOS 14, through the bar QuickType, which displayed on the standard iPhone keyboard, Apple offers an alternative to unrestricted access to contacts.

The moment the user starts typing the name of an acquaintance within an app, QuickType automatically locates and suggests the appropriate contact. When the user accepts the suggestion, only that contact shared with the application and the others remain private.

Approximate location

Several applications nowadays request access to users' locations to provide “relevant” services, but often these features are not dependent on location exact of a person. For meteorological applications, for example, it is enough to know the region or city in which the user is to show the current temperature and the weather forecast.

The image shows the new iOS location permission screen. A map with the location of the user displayed, but instead of the pin on the exact location, there is a blue circle marking the region where the device is located. There is a button in the left corner of the map that enables / disables the accuracy in the location called Precise: Off. New option to disable sharing the exact location of the device.

Thinking about it, iOS 14, when an app requests the location of the iPhone, a new option will allow the user to disable sharing their exact location and send only an approximate location in place. Developers will need to adapt iOS apps to respect this user decision.

Recording indicator

THE iOS 14 display a small indicator on the iPhone status bar whenever the camera or microphone is in use by an application. a behavior similar to that of laptops, where a light usually indicates when the camera built into the device is turned on.

Orange dot on the cell signal bar indicates that an application is recording the device's microphone. Orange dot on the cell signal bar indicates that an application is recording the device's microphone.

If the user is in doubt about which app is using these components, simply access the Control Center, which the person responsible will be revealed.

Access alert for transfer area

Whenever a text, image, link or any content copied or cut on iOS, it is sent to the clipboard so it can be pasted elsewhere.

Some applications access the iPhone clipboard to provide user amenities. For example, banks can read the transfer area for bank slip codes. Thus, when the user enters the bank's app, the code is already pasted and payment can be made more quickly.

Presentation slide at the fair during WWDC shows the notice of access to the transfer area. The text, in English, says “Glue” notice will be displayed whenever the clipboard is accessed, both by the user and by an application.

However, malicious applications can scan the clipboard for sensitive data, such as messages, credit cards and even passwords, without the user being aware that this is happening. So in the iOS 14, the operating system displays an alert when an app accesses the clipboard.

The change is already paying off. Developers who test the beta version of iOS have found that apps like LinkedIn and TikTok constantly access the device transfer area, for no apparent reason. LinkedIn said it was a bug, which will be fixed, while TikTok said the practice was an anti-spam measure to prevent mass postings, but would abandon it.

Privacy reports in Safari

Tracking is a technique used to monitor user navigation. One of the most common goals is to find out if, after viewing an ad online, you clicked, purchased, or accessed the advertiser's website. Over time, this information is grouped to create a profile of your consumption and display more “attractive” advertisements. However, an increasing number of users, companies, NGOs and governments consider this practice to be obscure and invasive, due to the extensive data collection involved and the lack of transparency.

THE Safari equipped with a tracking prevention feature since iOS 11, but from the iOS 14 the browser will provide users with a privacy report with all sites accessed in the last 30 days.

The report contains a list of the biggest offenders and allows the user to check which sites have had the most crawlers blocked and which crawlers are most common on the visited sites.

Image shows Safari's privacy report on macOS. It includes information that 74 crawlers were prevented, 97% of the websites accessed contained crawlers and a list of the most common crawlers. Safari privacy report will be available on iOS, iPadOS and macOS.

The news presented above will be available in the third quarter of 2020 for all iPhones released since 2015. For the curious – and the brave – a trial version will be released to the public in July.

Sources: Apple (1) (2), Input, MacMagazine, The Verge.