Major New Privacy Feature Coming To iOS 14

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A long-awaited update to Apple’s iOS 14 operating system’s security features is dropping in late March, and it will provide a massive boost to user online security for people using the tech giant’s products.

With iOS 15 reportedly set to launch in September 2021, it might come as a bit of a surprise to some that work is still being done on iOS 14, but Apple has been hard at work securing the safety of their users’ information online.

With more people than ever working and spending a large portion of their lives online, the topics of internet security, privacy, and user data protection have become more important than ever. Changes and technology are being implemented across industries the world over in this regard.

For example, in the retail sector, multinational e-commerce company Shopify has implemented a revised Payments Services Directive (PSD2) to try help regulate online payments. In entertainment, Netflix’s steadfast determination to provide a seamless streaming experience means they have found ways to protect their users’ data without impacting the video’s playback.

Similar features can also be noticed in the iGaming industry too, where user security is the primary objective of the best betting apps such as bet365 and PlayUp. These brands have a plethora of security features to protect gamers, including 256-bit SSL as part of its transport layer security.

Changes to privacy rules in the Apple ecosystem is not news; the company first mooted the idea at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2020. Still, no official release date was given at the time. The changes involve requiring any application listed on the Apple Store to request your permission before tracking your activity and data, especially that other apps and websites than the one tracking the data.

On top of that, app developers will also be required to give complete access to all users, even if they decide against letting the app track their activity and data. We finally have a release date for the changes in more good news, and we won’t have to wait until September, with spring 2021 and the iOS 14.5 update set as the date and platform for release.

The changes will significantly impact applications and software that use that data to make money by selling it on to a third party or using it to serve personalised ads to its users, like Facebook. Consequently and unsurprisingly, the social media platform is one of the most outspoken opponents of the changes, arguing against them by claiming the move will negatively impact small businesses.

However, Apple is sticking to their guns, at least for the moment, and are determined to give users more control over their online privacy and how the data they generate is used. “Under Settings, users will be able to see which apps have requested permission to track, and make changes as they see fit. This requirement will roll out broadly in early spring with an upcoming release of iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14, and has already garnered support from privacy advocates around the world,” said Apple in an official statement about the changes.

And just in case anyone was wondering, yes, the new rules will also apply to any applications created in-house by Apple themselves. Not even they can use your data without asking for permission first.

While the new privacy feature does not represent a game-changing technology jump for Apple, their commitment to user privacy and security has been solidly reinforced by this move. Whether or not the changes have a negative impact on small businesses that Facebook predicts, these security amendments will buy Apple a boatload of consumer goodwill going ahead of the release of iOS 15 in September.

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