Apple Is Making Privacy More User-Friendly

Anupam Chugh
Photo by Vitalii Pavlyshynets on Unsplash

Apple for long has established itself as the undisputed king of data privacy. Over the years, they’ve rolled out features that ensure user’s privacy isn’t exploited by their rivals.

To do so, the Cupertino tech giant introduced enhanced location and Bluetooth permissions in iOS 13, which embarrassed the likes of Facebook and Google.

Subsequently during WWDC 2020, with iOS 14, Apple pushed its privacy boundaries even further by introducing an opt-in ad-tracking feature. This one popup literally upheaved the whole mobile advertisement industry and threatened to slash their revenues. Understandably Apple delayed this feature until Jan 2021.

But this was only the tip of the iceberg.

You’ve probably heard Tim Cook proclaiming, privacy is the fundamental right of every human. To walk the talk, Apple introduced more design-focused privacy features in iOS 14 such as — a new privacy report in Safari, displaying dot indicators while the camera or microphone is in use, and showing whose accessing your clipboard.

Yet, there’s another new privacy feature named “nutrition labels” that’ll tighten the noose and throw caution to the wind for Apple’s rivals when it rolls out across App Stores on December 8.

Often when it comes to privacy, most users simply don’t understand or care about it. Though, in their defense, it’s hard to care when there’s no real person snooping on you.

One could say that for most people convenience is more important than anything else. Also since people have been taught to love “free” things, they tend to easily get blindsided about their personal information that’s being used without consent.

Besides, nobody really wants to read a long list of privacy policies. And even if they do, very few would bother to comprehend what goes on under the hood.

Due to these facts, firms such as Facebook and Google have been intruding on user privacy and tapping into the grey areas — sometimes by actually obfuscating it. And why not? The lesser the people understand about data privacy, the more likely they are to ignore and move on with it.

But Apple with the new “nutrition labels” feature is now intending to make understanding of privacy a lot easier and transparent for the non-tech savvy regular users.

Just like you’d check for calories, protein, sugar labels at the back of an item in a grocery store before picking it, similarly, the iOS and macOS App Stores will now display what information an app collects, whether that data is shared with third parties, and if the user has an option to opt-out of it.

This means that though the work for developers is cut out, it’s the end-users who will gain better insights about apps tracking their activity through a clear concise design.

Here’s a look at the new App Store design which includes nutrition labels:
Source: Apple

Privacy for long has been suffering from a design problem. If the user doesn’t understand it well, they won’t pay heed to it. Yet, privacy is like health. It can’t hurt you in the long run if you stop paying attention to it.

Apple through new digestible information about the app’s data collection is looking to bridging the gap between privacy and user experience.

While the information is self-reported and there are a few optional disclosures that can be exploited by app developers, but still the new nutrition label feature showcases Apple’s efforts towards customer’s privacy. Even though some say Apple’s privacy stance is more of a marketing move, one cannot deny that they’ve brought attention to a serious issue and are establishing norms for it.

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