The latest version of Apple’s iOS 15.2 operating system can only be recommended to users, as the update offers a number of additional privacy protection options.
Especially the reporting, i.e. the transparency that you get as an individual user to better understand which apps are tracking what, has been improved. The so-called app privacy report in the “Settings” provides an overview of how often apps have accessed the location, photos, camera, microphone, contacts and more in the last seven days. In addition, information about the network activities of the same apps is also provided.
Surveillance still a problem
Even though Apple has been making various improvements to data protection for some time, many apps still track a lot of data without permission. A new report shows the most conspicuous app categories.
An average app connects to 15 domains, 12 of which are unknown domains (i.e. servers) of third parties. In many cases, such services are used to transmit usage data and analyze it there (e.g. for advertising or tracking).
However, users usually do not see what data these iPhone apps access and where they connect to. The latest update to iOS 15.2 should finally change that.
The new app privacy report
The new privacy report now provides a quick insight into what the apps on their smartphone or tablet are actually doing. In addition, all network activities are logged. So you can see which servers an app connects to and how often. This also reveals whether apps contact analysis and tracking tools from advertising companies like Google & Co. for example – unfortunately still a common practice with many apps. Apple also lists websites accessed with apps and the most frequently contacted domains in the report.
The hope: to encourage developers and app providers to make apps as data-saving as possible by making accesses and network activities visible in the future. More transparency as a basis for less tracking. The introduction of the app privacy report is a “great opportunity” to review the use of sensors, data and the Internet in one’s own apps, Apple writes in the release notes for iOS 15.2 for developers.
We fully support this initiative. Data protection is a top priority for us and we follow the strictest European guidelines here (see also: Technical protection measures for your apps in terms of modern data protection). Apps should track and forward as little data as possible. Users should be aware of this and give their consent – without this being trickily circumvented.
The new privacy report on your iOS device is therefore recommended to everyone. It can be easily found in the settings. Once activated, it provides a practical, quick impression of what apps are doing there in secret.