Apple Announces Private Relay, Privacy Reporting for Apps and Email Aliases

At the WWDC annual developer conference, Apple announced a variety of services and options to protect user privacy, including Private Relay, which should provide more privacy than a normal VPN connection, privacy reporting for apps and email aliases.

Through App Privacy Report, users can see how many times each app has used permissions to access location data, photos, microphone, and contacts in the past seven days. According to Apple, users can use this information to see whether this is necessary. Also, an overview of third-party domains with which the app connects allows users to see who their data has been shared with.

Apple also announced iCloud+, a paid service that includes Private Relay. When using Safari, this service ensures that all user requests are routed through two separate internet relays. The first relay gives the user an "anonymous IP address" tied to their region, according to Apple. The second relay decrypts the web address the user wants to visit.

This separation protects users' privacy because there is no entity that can both identify the user and know which website they are visiting. Apple also states that it cannot see users' browsing data and Private Relay is therefore not a VPN service.

Another new privacy feature of iCloud+ is Hide My Email. This service is present in Safari, iCloud settings and the Mail app. It allows users to generate an email alias without having to give their own email address to organizations or websites. The feature will be available as an update to iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey and

In addition, Apple's Mail app will now block tracking pixels. In addition, the Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari will hide the IP address of users from trackers. It will also be possible via "secure paste" to copy and paste information from one app into another app without warning and via "share current location" the location can be shared with an app once.

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