Apple’s Latest Software Update Includes New Privacy Features

Joe Beck
October 3, 2021

Privacy is always a hot topic when it comes to news pertaining to technology, and Apple is continuing to influence that trend with some great new privacy features in iOS 15. This comes in contrast to the company’s proposed on-device photo scanning, which Apple apparently “backed down on,” or at least has put on hold for the time being. While this latest software update includes many new privacy features, we will focus on three that are included in Apple’s new iCloud+ subscription. This subscription is activated at no extra cost if the iPhone has a current iCloud subscription, including the $0.50 per month base subscription.

Hide My Email Generates Burner Email Addresses

The first new privacy feature in iCloud+ is the ability to create throw-away email addresses to protect the user’s real email address. This feature is called Hide My Email, and it generates and creates a random email address for submission on third-party sites and internet shopping sites. Emails sent to this ‘fake’ email address will appear in the inbox as normal, yet if the user desires to stop receiving those types of emails, they can do so at any time by deleting the fake address – all while the third party has no insight as to the user’s real personal email address. If you are tired of cleaning up your inbox and unsubscribing from emails from advertisers, Hide My Email is a great feature to take advantage of.

Private Relay Encrypts Web Traffic

Another privacy component includes Private Relay, which encrypts all web traffic that occurs on Safari, iPhone’s default web browser, and even provides a fake IP address for extra anonymity. Those concerned about privacy on the internet would recognize this secondary behavior as that of a VPN – assigning a different IP address for the user while hiding their real IP address. This may cut into the business of VPN providers as individuals begin to rely on Apple instead of a third-party VPN provider; however, this would require the individual to hand over more reliance and trust to Apple, essentially setting up a single point of failure (e.g., if Apple becomes compromised or untrustworthy, there is no fallback option any longer).

HomeKit Secure Lets Users Monitor Their Webcams Via iPhone

Finally, iCloud+ provides better support for its HomeKit Secure product, which allows users to monitor webcams via their iPhone. All of this video traffic is fully encrypted end to end, and Apple provides a separate storage pool that will not count against the typical iCloud storage. This seems to be a good home video surveillance option for those that want all of their technology tools in one place – on the iPhone.

Apple has moved in the right direction with these new security measures. We hope to see privacy supported and guarded by tech giants in the coming days.