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Security & privacy

Change this crucial privacy setting now to keep Siri from spying on you

Apple’s iOS 13.2 is now available, and so far, it looks quite a bit better than previous updates. The last few editions of iOS 13 were plagued with glitches, and the newest update from Apple was urgently added to deal with the most critical among them. Click or tap here to learn what went wrong with iOS 13.

But iOS 13.2 didn’t only include bug fixes. It also brought Apple’s voice transcription scandal back to the forefront with a new option that lets users opt out of the controversial program.

Before the news broke, customers had no choice but to have their conversations listened to. Now, you have the power to reshape your phone’s privacy in a brand new way. Here’s how you can opt out of audio transcription, as well as what it means for you and your device going forward.

iOS 13.2 gives users more privacy options

The most notable update is the highly anticipated Deep Fusion camera feature for iPhone 11 models and above. Users were also treated to new emoji, AirPod Pro compatibility and battery life improvements. Click or tap to see all the new features Apple added to iOS 13.2.

A standout new option involves Apple’s controversial audio transcription program. Much like with Amazon’s Alexa, Apple would collect samples of Siri audio conversations and transcribe the data to train its AI. Users had no choice but to participate in data harvesting, but all that has changed in iOS 13.2.

Users now can disable data collection during setup. When you first boot up iOS 13.2 after updating, one of the options users are greeted with is Improve Siri & Dictation. This is the official name for Apple’s data collection program, and for the first time, you can toggle the option to off before you even start using your phone.

I already set up my phone on iOS 13.2. Is it too late to disable Siri audio collection?

As it turns out, no! Apple has given users multiple avenues to disable audio collection and transcription. Additionally, for the first time, you can now delete your entire history of Siri conversations right from the settings menu ⁠— just like you can with Alexa. Click or tap here to learn how to delete your Alexa history.

To stop Apple from collecting your Siri conversations, open Settings, then tap Privacy followed by Analytics & Improvements. Look for Improve Siri & Dictation and toggle the switch to the off position. This will end Apple’s ability to transcribe your Siri requests and audio.

To clear out your history of Siri audio, open Settings, then tap Siri & Search followed by Siri & Dictation History. Look for the large button labeled Delete Siri & Dictation History. Tap to confirm you want to delete the data, and it will be purged from your phone.

Now that Apple seems to be playing nice in terms of privacy, it’s high time other companies followed its example.

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