12 hours agoShare pageAbout sharingimage copyrightAppleimage captionSharing health data of family members is one new feature coming to Apple health
Apple device users will now be able see when individual apps request to access features such as the microphone, camera and phone gallery, plus which third parties they have connected with in the last seven days.
The new “app privacy report” feature was unveiled at the firm’s annual developers’ conference, WWDC.
Apple has prioritised privacy lately, including a war on ad-tracking.
No new hardware was announced at the event, despite earlier speculation.
The new privacy report goes further than Apple’s existing “nutrition labels” which show users what kinds of permissions apps ask for, before they are installed.
It will allow users to dive deep into when exactly an app used the permissions it has been given – and what third-party websites it contacted or sent data to.
“Apple continues to double down on privacy,” said Thomas Husson, analyst at Forrester.
“In this area, no doubt Apple is leading the pack and setting the tone for the rest of the industry.”
image copyrightAppleimage captionApp privacy reports will show exactly what third-party domains are contacted by an app
Other privacy-focused updates included:
audio processing moving to be on-device only – so voice commands to Apple’s smart assistant Siri will not be uploaded to central servers, unlike competitors such as the Amazon EchoApple Mail to hide the IP address of the device it is accessed on, meaning that senders of marketing emails, for example, cannot track where an email is sent and whether it is readApple’s own web browser Safari will prevent any third parties from accessing a user’s IP address to block trackingiCloud subscribers will have the option to route Safari traffic through two internet relays, similar to a VPN, to hide your identity; and the “hide my email” feature, first unveiled in 2019, will be extended to hide email addresses when used to sign up to a number of online services
However a previous move by the tech giant to offer its customers a choice over whether to accept tracking for the purposes of advertising was criticised by a number of firms, including Facebook and other free-to-use services, for which ad tracking is a rich source of revenue.
The firm also showed off a raft of updates to its Facetime video calling platform, some of which appear to compete with apps such as Zoom which exploded in popularity during the pandemic.
They include a gallery mode to view multiple speakers, a portrait mode with blurred backgrounds, and the ability to schedule Facetime calls and create web links.
image copyrightAppleimage captionThe so-called SharePlay feature lets users watch movies or listen to music together over a Facetime call
This will also enable Android and Windows PC users to join calls, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said. Until now, the platform has only worked between Apple devices.
The new features form part of its latest operating system, iOS15.
“Allowing Apple owners to invite Android and PC users to FaceTime calls via a browser acknowledges the pandemic has sparked explosive growth in group video calling,” said Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight.
“Apple risked being left behind services such as Teams and Zoom – but browser-based calling won’t be enough to close the gap.”
Digital keys are coming to Apple Wallet, announced the firm’s Jennifer Bailey.
Car firm BMW and hotel chain Hyatt will be among the first to offer the keys – and it will also be available for homes.
The collaboration with BMW was initially announced at WWDC 2020 but has yet to actually launch.
image copyrightAppleimage captionSome US states will now accept forms of ID through the Wallet app, Apple said
In some US states, iPhone users will also be able to store their State ID and driving licences, with the Transportation Security Administration lined up to be among the first to be able to use it, said Ms Bailey.
Apple also announced Live Text, which is able to scan a user’s library of photos for text that can be made searchable and copied and pasted between apps – for example, a phone number from a business card or menu.
Some note-taking apps have used optical character recognition (OCR) for similar reasons for years, but Apple’s solution is baked into the phone operating system itself.
The health app can now track walking steadiness and issue alerts if a user appears less steady, along with exercise suggestions as to how it might improve.
Apple also enabled health app data sharing with doctors, and between family members, but only with the health app user’s consent. The encrypted data is not visible to the tech giant, it stressed.
image copyrightAppleimage captionApple boss Tim Cook introduced the WWDC conference
However, there may be a cultural barrier to overcome here, said Ben Wood.
“The ability to share health data with other family members looks an interesting idea on paper, but it is hard to see that many parents would want to share updates with their children,” he said.
There may, for example, be a number of reasons why a person’s heart rate increases which are not medical emergencies.
Others, like Carolina Milanesi from Creative Strategies, said she could see it being taken up by families who live far away.
“My biggest worry over the pandemic was my mom and asking how she was felt like nagging her,” she tweeted.
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FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT
? Monday, 7 June 2021 ?
Dear Fellow South African,
Later this week, I will be travelling to the United Kingdom to attend the G7 Leaders Summit. We have been invited as a guest country together with South Korea, Australia and India.
The summit will discuss how to promote future prosperity through free and fair trade, championing shared values and tackling climate change, but the global recovery from COVID-19 is likely to dominate the agenda.
In extending the invitation, the G7 group of countries acknowledge South Africa¨s role in driving the continental response to COVID during our AU chairship, and the contribution it can make to global progress.
Much as we are a developing economy and despite facing considerable challenges given rise to by the pandemic on our society, we have done and will continue to do our best.
South Africa can hold its head high among the community of nations because we remain a country that is free and united and determined to succeed.
Gatherings such as the G7 are important opportunities for South Africa to promote its view of a fairer and more peaceful world. They are also an opportunity to promote our country as a destination in which to invest and do business, as a partner for development, and as an ally in resolving the most pressing social and political issues facing humankind. These gatherings also give us an opportunity to promote our continent as a destination for investment.
Our delegation to the G7 Summit will be able to talk about the progress we are making in overcoming the pandemic and the measures we have taken towards our national recovery that are slowly but steadily yielding results.
We will be able to talk about the green shoots of economic progress I spoke of in the Presidency Budget vote in Parliament last week. Among them are the tangible results of commitments made by this administration to resolve challenges that have long hindered our economic growth.
I will be presenting the clear signals that our country is emerging from the devastation wrought by the pandemic. These signals include a strengthening currency, a record trade surplus, and growth in mining, financial services and manufacturing. We can also talk about the lifechanging opportunities being provided to our people through the Presidential Employment Stimulus, which has directly benefited nearly 700,000 people since it was launched eight months ago. We can reflect that there is progress towards greater policy and regulatory certainty in important economic sectors such as energy and telecommunications.
The G7 Leaders Summit is an opportunity to seek broader support for the struggle we are waging alongside India and more than 100 other countries to achieve a temporary waiver of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property agreement at the WTO to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. This will enable countries to manufacture their own vaccines and pave the way for the development of a local pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in our own country and on the continent.
The message I will be taking to the G7 Summit will be one of hope about the prospects for our country¨s recovery, and indeed the global recovery.
But not everyone in this country is ready for that message.
When times are tough, it is easy to be pessimistic.
It is understandable that citizens may be frustrated by the slow pace of change, and feel that our problems appear to be intractable. Our high rate of unemployment, for example, has not improved since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago and was made much worse by the pandemic.
But sometimes we are so absorbed by our shortcomings, that we often fail to acknowledge what we are doing right and where things are improving.
We are making progress in resolving many of our challenges, from corruption to energy shortages to the obstacles that discourage investment. The pace of reform is picking up.
We do not take the patience and resilience of the South African people for granted. We acknowledge our shortcomings as a government and are working to remedy them.
Optimism is the foundation of progress and hope is the companion of development.
Cynical though some among us may be, let the progress we are making in overcoming the immediate crisis motivate us to do even better.
Our democracy was founded in hope where there seemingly was none. We emerged from a desperate situation that threatened to engulf us and built a new nation. Over the last year and a half, we rallied together to fight the pandemic, united in the belief that better days would come.
Throughout the course of our history we have had setbacks and false starts. But our resilient nature allowed us to weather many storms. It is this drive and determination that must continue to propel us forward as our country recovers socially, politically and economically.
Let us look ahead and move forward. Let us nurture the green shoots of progress. Let us not only hope for better days, but let us work even harder to achieve them.
With best regards,