Last week, Apple issued multiple updates for its whole line of products including Macs, the Apple TV, Apple Watches and iOS gadgets. Similar to any incremental update, iOS 10.2.1 contained various fixes for security vulnerabilities and minor software compatibility patches.
Another update that went into beta last week is Apple's next major update for iOS gadgets, iOS 10.3. Aside from security patches, we spotted the inclusion of a few exciting new features in this beta - Find my AirPods, CarPlay, and a Podcast widget.
But are there more under-the-hood changes in iOS 10.3 that you need to know about.
It turns out there's a note under "iCloud Analytics & Privacy" indicating that Apple wants to analyze iOS users' iCloud data including notes, email, contacts, photos, calendar, Keychain, iCloud Drive files, Find My iPhone and iTunes items. According to the note, analysis of such content will help the company improve smart features and services like Siri.
Apple is always vocal about its efforts in protecting user privacy but anonymous usage analytics for improving software is a standard practice for tech companies. It looks like Apple will start utilizing this data more in iOS 10.3 without compromising security and privacy.
"Apple would like your help to improve our products and services by using, in a privacy-preserving manner, data from your iCloud account," the note explains.
The company also uses a technique called "differential privacy," which anonymizes user data by adding mathematical noise to it. This allows mass usage patterns to be analyzed without tracking back said data to particular users.
Opting out of iCloud Analytics
At any rate, if you're still concerned about Apple's iCloud data analytics in iOS 10.3, the company provides a way to opt-out of it.
Once you update to iOS 10.3, go to Settings >> Privacy >> Analytics then toggle "Share iCloud Analytics" to Off.