Every year Apple brings big changes to iOS, and this year is no different. The latest version, iOS 14, brings with it big changes like widgets and App Clips, but there are also a ton of important privacy updates.
Though iOS continues to change for the better, there are still essential apps out there that you’ll want to add to your system. Tap or click here for 10 apps you need right now if you have an iPhone or iPad.
While companies like Google and Facebook have made names for themselves over just how much data they collect from users, Apple has oftentimes gone in a different direction, giving users more control over data. Many of the privacy and security changes in iOS 14 reflect this. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest update.
1. Mic/Camera recording indicators
For laptops, it’s best to cover your webcam or at least point it away from you while not in use. This is less about some shadowy government conspiracy and more about the real-world problem of digital tracking.
But iOS 14 removes the guesswork, you will always know if an app is watching or listening when it’s not supposed to be. If an app is using your camera, you’ll now see a little green dot in the upper-right corner of the screen. If your mic is being used, there’s a yellow dot.
Want to know more about this new feature? Tap or click here for details on permissions and new recording indicator lights in iOS 14.
2. App tracking controls
In iOS 14, Apple has promised big changes to the way tracking works. You will be able to disable tracking of individual applications if you so choose. For example, if you’re worried about Facebook, it’s a simple settings adjustment. However, how exactly this control on the front-end for users will change things on the back-end for developers is complicated, so Apple announced this iOS 14 feature will be coming at a later date.
3. App Store/Safari Privacy Reports
One of the biggest privacy issues of modern-day is simply not understanding what is and is not being tracked. Once people realize how much information is being collected, most want to limit it. Apple’s answer to this problem is Privacy Reports.
Privacy Reports is another feature that won’t be released until later this year. When it does roll out, the iOS App Store will have a new section on each page devoted to privacy letting you know how safe an app is before downloading it. Apple likened the feature to nutrition labels on food.
You can also see Privacy Reports in Apple’s default browser. In Safari, on the left side of the address bar, tap the little AA button, and you can see a privacy report, detailing the number of trackers that have been blocked.
4. Signing in with Apple
With iOS 14 comes the ability for developers to opt into Signing in with Apple to improve privacy and security without the hassle of signing up for a new account. On one hand, having fewer accounts and being able to sign into more services with the accounts you already have is a remarkable efficiency and helps protect you against shady developers who may try and take advantage of you.
5. Local Network notifications
In iOS 14, whenever an application tries to connect to your local network, a prompt will appear notifying you and asking for permission. Apps that connect to your local network can discover other devices and be seen themselves, so it’s not necessarily a feature you want every application on your device to make use of regularly.
6. Approximate location sharing
In iOS, for the longest time, users had to choose whether or not to share their location with an app. If you chose not to, your location would be entirely withheld from the app. In iOS 14 you can opt to share approximate location with an app as opposed to a precise location or no location information at all.
To set this up, open Settings > Privacy > Location Services. You’ll see a list of your apps that you can adjust settings for. Just tap the app you want to adjust and choose when to allow location access. Select from Never, Ask Next Time, While Using the App, and Always.
7. Limited photo access
Much like the finer-grain control over what kind of location information you can choose to share with an application, iOS 14’s limited photo access feature allows users to only share certain photos with developers, as opposed to being forced to choose between giving an application permission to access your photos or not.
8. Copy/paste notifications
In iOS when you copy or paste something, this happens with no visual indicators something has been successfully copied to your device’s digital clipboard. In iOS 14, when you copy or paste an item notification will appear at the top of the screen alerting this action and demonstrating it went off successfully.
In addition to all of these features, many more are also coming to iOS 14, and many of these also have security ramifications. If you’re interested in more about how iOS 14 will protect your privacy, we’ve got you covered: Tap or click here for more on Recovery Keys, an important new feature in iOS 14.