Apple Enhances Privacy Leadership with New Platform Updates

Apple Enhances Privacy Leadership with New Platform Updates

Apple has unveiled a series of updates across its platforms, reinforcing its commitment to user privacy and data control.

A standout among these innovations is Private Cloud Compute, which elevates the privacy standards for artificial intelligence by extending the robust protections of the iPhone to the cloud.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, highlighted the breakthrough. “Private Cloud Compute allows Apple Intelligence to process complex user requests with unparalleled privacy,” he stated. “We’ve designed a system where user data is only used to fulfill requests and never stored or accessible to anyone, including Apple. Independent experts can verify these protections to ensure transparency.”

Revolutionizing AI Privacy

Apple Intelligence, integrated into iPhone, iPad, and Mac, enhances the utility and delight of these personal devices. Traditionally, on-device processing has safeguarded user data, but with Private Cloud Compute, larger, server-based models can handle more complex requests without compromising privacy. When necessary, data is sent to Apple silicon servers, processed, and immediately discarded, ensuring it is never stored or accessible.

These servers boast unprecedented security, featuring Secure Enclave to protect encryption keys, Secure Boot for OS verification, and Trusted Execution Monitor to ensure only verified code runs. The system also allows for independent verification of the privacy measures in place.

New Privacy Features

Apple has introduced additional features designed to enhance privacy:

Locked and Hidden Apps: Users can lock apps, requiring authentication via Face ID, Touch ID, or passcode to access, or hide apps entirely, moving them to a secured folder.

Contact Permissions in iOS 18: Users can now select which contacts to share with apps, rather than giving full access.

Accessory Setup Kit: This tool allows pairing new accessories without revealing other devices on the network.

Erik Neuenschwander, Apple’s Director of User Privacy, emphasized the company’s dedication to privacy. “Our new features, such as locking and hiding apps, demonstrate our commitment to user control over personal information, even when sharing devices.”

Enhanced Security Measures

Building on its longstanding Keychain system, Apple introduced the Passwords app, which securely stores account passwords, passkeys, Wi-Fi passwords, and two-factor authentication codes. This app also alerts users to weak or compromised passwords. Additionally, a revamped Privacy & Security section in Settings provides clear, accessible information about app permissions.

Availability

Developer betas of iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia are available now, with public betas coming next month. The full release is expected this fall. Apple Intelligence, featuring these new privacy measures, will be available in beta on iPhone 15 Pro and later models.