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Apple Announces New Privacy Features at WWDC 2020

Apple kicked off its 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday — a virtual event due to the current coronavirus pandemic — and announced several new privacy features coming to its products.

The new iOS 14 will allow iPhone users to only share an approximate location with the apps they are using rather than giving them access to precise location data.

Mic and camera indicator in iOS 14

iPhone users will also see an indicator in the status bar — a yellow dot — whenever their microphone or camera is recording, and the Control Center will allow them to see which apps used the mic or camera recently.

Apple has also announced improvements to tracking control. The company believes tracking should be transparent and under the user’s control so App Store policy will require apps to ask for permission before tracking users across third-party applications and websites.

Another improvement made to app-related privacy is that applications will be required to display a summary of their privacy practices on their page in the App Store so that users can see it before downloading. Developers will have to specify how much data they collect and what type of data they share with others for tracking purposes.

Privacy report in Safari

Safari, which uses Intelligent Tracking Prevention to prevent user tracking across the web, will also include a Privacy Report feature that will show users how they are protected on the websites they visit. Users will receive a weekly report, but they can also see a report at any time by clicking on the Privacy Report button that will be displayed in the browser’s toolbar.

As for security, Apple informed users that Safari — on both iOS and macOS — will include a password monitoring feature that alerts them if their saved passwords have been compromised in a data breach, and helps them change the exposed password. This feature is also available in Edge, Chrome and Firefox.

Related: Apple Enables Full Third-Party Cookie Blocking in Safari

Related: Apple Unveils Privacy-Focused Authentication System

Related: Apple and Google Team Up on Virus 'Contact Tracing' by Smartphone

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.