So iOS 14 is now out and many of us will have either had it updated for us or gone through the process of downloading it manually (which took me an age, no matter!).
It still has some crazy bugs, like some of the icons are now smaller than others and many developers was caught offguard and did not get an iOS 14 updated app into the App Store with the 24h notice period Apple gave them! BUT all in all it's an update that does have some great improvements, I don't care much about the widgets but that’s not what this article is about, it's about privacy and the settings you should adjust once you've updated to iOS14.
iOS now lets you share 'approximate location' with apps and not just 'precise location'. That means the app won’t have your exact location but a one within a 10-square km radius of your actual location, so the app won't know your exact street address, but just the approximate area where you are located. This is handy for weather or news apps etc.
To enable approximate locations jump over to Settings -> app (weather, news etc), tab on Location, then toggle ON/OFF precise location. Out of the box it's off...and the app will ask you if you'd like to share your precise or your approximate location.
When a third party app requests access to photos, let's say you want to share a photo on Signal, you can now not just grant access to all pictures, but limit it to a few selected photos. This is great as it ensures that the app only gets the picture you are willing to share and not access your entire libraryy. Yes! We're talking about Google, Facebook, Twitter and all the other greedy companies!
This setting can be adjusted by clicking on Settings -> app (example Signal), tab Photos, now you can chose Selected Photos, All Photos or None.
Microphone and Camera indicator
Oh I love this one, iOS 14 displays an indicator light on your iPhone/iPad when the camera or microphone is in use. A green indicator light shows your camera has been accessed and an orange one indicates that the microphone is in use. That’s a pretty cool feature and makes me very excited about this update.
Apps allowed to track
From now on apps need to ask if they are allowed to track you for targeted ads! This applies for all apps not just on the Safari browser, so to control this jump to Settings -> Privacy, tab on Tracking and toggle Allow Apps to Request to Track. Or just do it as I do and let this one slide and have it untoggeld which means no app can track you! Well at least they shouldn’t, it probably doesn't mean they won't try to anyway.
Privacy information within the App Store
The user will now be shown what an app wants to access and what they will do with your data. This information is now available for you and covers 31 categories. This includes but is not limited to data linked to you, data used to track you, your contacts, financial information, location, browsing history, identifier etc.
In other words, you now get to know a little more about the apps you want to download before you actually download them.
Safari Password monitoring and privacy report
Safari now has a tracking and prevention button on the toolbar. This gives you tracking reports like which websites are trying to track you and when, the most contacted trackers and all blocked trackers.
To check on this: open Safari, tab on the aA icon to the left of the address bar, then tab Tracking Report and check what Safari has blocked for you. Safari will also keep track of websites and services that been compromised in the past and notify you.
Enable Local Network Privacy Access
Apps will now have permission to detect and connect with other devices on your local network. (Cool right? but did you know they could before?). Anyhow, jump over to Settings -> Privacy -> Local Network
You should now see a list of apps and you are able to toggle them ON or OFF for your local network access.
Sign In with Apple
As I've already pointed out I would personally use AnonAddy to do this, but if you're an Apple user and happily in the Apple garden with your Mac and your phones then hell, just use it. The sign-up and sign-in option will make it possible to have one unified way to log-in on a bunch of apps and services.
Apple explains that with iOS14 it should soon be possible to use this option on any service and let you upgrade your existing account. This makes it easy for you to sign on with your Face or Touch ID on any website or service where you decide to use Sign In with Apple. Again I would recommend doing this with AnnoAddy so that you don’t give all the power to Apple.
WiFi Private Address
iOS 14 now features “Use Private Address" which prevents network operators from tracking your iDevice.
To enable this go to Settings -> WiFi -> network (the one you used to get connected) then toggle Use Private Address.
We might still have some 'ants around our gloves' but iOS 14 is going in the right direction.
Let’s see how Android reacts to these changes and how Apple improves on privacy when it comes to its own users. Once again, Apple is a closed garden, and is not open-source, but the change in direction is welcome and should be recognized.
I'll report back when we've more on ants, apples and privacy. Until then, stay safe!