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Apple Aims for Greater Transparency With Comprehensive New Privacy Site

Apple today launched a new privacy site that outlines all of the privacy features of Apple's products and services, offers tips on managing privacy, details government information requests, and explicitly states Apple's Privacy Policy.

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The site comes alongside a letter on privacy from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who says that the company respects user privacy and protects it with "strong encryption." Privacy and security are of the utmost importance to Apple, according to Cook, and the company designs all of its hardware, software, and services with privacy in mind.

In the letter, Tim Cook says that Apple is aiming to be more transparent about what happens with personal information, detailing how and why it is used by the company. Cook also states plainly that Apple aims to sell great products, not collect user information.
We're publishing this website to explain how we handle your personal information, what we do and don't collect, and why. We're going to make sure you get updates here about privacy at Apple at least once a year and whenever there are significant changes to our policies.

A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you're not the customer. You're the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn't come at the expense of your privacy.

Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don't build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don't "monetize" the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don't read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.
The first section of Apple's new privacy site details the privacy built into "the things you use every day." The site gives information on the ways apps and services are protected and the data that Apple can collect. Services detailed include iMessage, FaceTime, iCloud, Safari, Maps, Siri, Mail, Apps and the App Store, Apple Pay, Health, HomeKit, Spotlight Suggestions, and Randomized Wi-Fi addresses.

For example, Apple states that it cannot access content in the Messages app due to the encryption, and it explains how iCloud data is encrypted.

A second Privacy section is clearly the result of a recent hacking incident that saw several celebrity iCloud accounts compromised. In the section, Apple suggests ways users can improve the security of their devices, pointing towards passcodes, Touch ID, and Find My iPhone.

Apple also instructs users how to create a strong password, how to create proper security questions, and it directs them to turn on two-step verification. In addition, it details phishing scams, suggests users change their passwords on a regular basis, and tells them to keep an eye out for emails sent after Apple ID login attempts.

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The final two sections of Apple's privacy site explicitly outline all government data requests that the company has received and offer details on Apple's privacy policy. The site lists examples of the personal information that Apple collects and exactly how that personal information is used. According to Cook, the new site is the result of a "commitment to protecting your privacy." "We know that your trust doesn't come easy," writes the CEO, "That's why we have and always will work as hard as we can to earn and keep it."


Top Rated Comments

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23 months ago
Good for them. As much as people dismiss the idea of privacy being important anymore, it's still important to me and I'm glad that Apple cares about it. It's one of the reasons why I minimise my use of other services and use Apple instead.
Rating: 29 Votes
23 months ago
Small jab at Google in there mentioning how they don't use your info to target ads at you.
Rating: 21 Votes
23 months ago

Small jab at Google in there mentioning how they don't use your info to target ads at you.


More of a jab at almost every website that collects information these days than a direct google attack IMO.
Rating: 14 Votes
23 months ago

Nice page. I'm surprised it took this long. Given their pages about environment and supplier responsibility...

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Well kind of stupid in my opinion to call it out. While their business model might not be about using info to target ads, how do they explain iAds and how they work?

Truth is - iAds hasn't been a success and they would have really liked to have a revenue stream (not business model) like Google and other ad delivery platforms have. But they don't.


How do they explain iAds? Quite well. They explain it on that website. Give it a read.
Rating: 13 Votes
23 months ago
kate upton is logging on right now
Rating: 12 Votes
23 months ago

Lovely obtuse answer. You mean this page? http://advertising.apple.com/


Again - how do you think Apple delivers an audience to the advertiser?


No. The privacy page that is the subject of this story talks about iAd.

Limit targeted interest-based ads.
Our business does not depend on advertising. For many companies, it does. On iOS, advertising does support some apps, so to help protect your privacy we have developed the nonpersistent Advertising Identifier. Apple’s advertising service, iAd, uses this identifier to deliver ads to you via things like third-party apps and iTunes Radio. The Advertising Identifier helps advertisers control the number of times you see a given ad, measure the effectiveness of ad campaigns, and unless you choose to opt out, can be used to try and serve ads more relevant to you.

Whenever you want to clear the data associated with your Advertising Identifier, you can simply reset it. This is another example of our commitment to do away with persistent identifiers on mobile devices. If you’d rather not see mobile ads tailored to your interests, you can choose to limit ad tracking with a simple on/off switch. When Limit Ad Tracking is turned on, third-party apps are forbidden by Apple’s guidelines to use the Advertising Identifier to serve you targeted ads. As part of submission to our App Store, Apple requires all developers to agree that they abide by your choice to Limit Ad Tracking. iAd abides by Limit Ad Tracking wherever ads are served, and does not serve interest-based ads to users under the age of 13. Learn more about opting out of interest-based ads
Rating: 9 Votes
23 months ago
Don't be insulting.

It's not information about you. It's anonymized. And you can stop even that. Read the damned website.

Either you're being obtuse on purpose or have missed my point. The fact that a user can control how much they are targeted or not does not negate the fact that Apple does, indeed, collect enough information about you in order for iAds to be able to be targeted.Just like any other ad delivery service.

Given iAds popularity however, I wouldn't (as a consumer) be too worried :)

Rating: 9 Votes
23 months ago

Good for them. As much as people dismiss the idea of privacy being important anymore, it's still important to me and I'm glad that Apple cares about it. It's one of the reasons why I minimise my use of other services and use Apple instead.


Agreed. Makes me feel better about being an Apple customer. Let's just hope the future reality of the situation proves their claims to be correct.
Rating: 8 Votes
23 months ago

Lovely obtuse answer. You mean this page? http://advertising.apple.com/


No, the one mentioned in the article.

Specifically the one telling you how to limit iAd and what it can do to you:

http://www.apple.com/privacy/manage-your-privacy/

Don't expect a page like that from the other companies anytime soon.
Rating: 7 Votes
23 months ago

Lovely obtuse answer. You mean this page? http://advertising.apple.com/


Again - how do you think Apple delivers an audience to the advertiser?


Why did you purposely go to the wrong page to pretend that you had a point? "That website" obviously means the mini-site referenced in the article, and "that website" has a section dedicated to managing your privacy, which includes limiting iAd tracking. Who's really being obtuse here?

To cover off the question asking how they track you: Before Apple banned it, ad servers used UDID to track you. That is a unique hardware identifier that cannot be changed. Once they have that, they can track your device for eternity. In its place, Apple has provided an advertising identifier (IDFA) that can be reset by the user at anytime (or limited as mentioned above). This process is also described on "that website".
Rating: 6 Votes

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