Apple Shares Updated iOS Security Guide With Info on Shortcuts, Siri Suggestions, Screen Time and More

by

Apple today published an updated version of its iOS security white paper [PDF] for iOS 12, with information on new features and updates introduced with the iOS 12 software.

According to Apple's Document Revision History, the updated guide covers iOS 12 features like Siri Suggestions, Siri Shortcuts, the Shortcuts app, Screen Time, Password AutoFill Student ID cards, and more.

shortcutslibrary
On Siri Suggestions, for example, Apple explains that suggestions for apps and shortcuts are generated using on-device machine learning, with no data going to Apple except info that can't be used to identify the user.

On the Shortcuts app, Apple explains that shortcuts can be optionally synced across Apple devices using iCloud or shared with other users. Apple protects against malicious JavaScript within shortcuts by updating malware definitions to identify malicious scripts at run-time.

Custom shortcuts can also run user-specified JavaScript on websites in Safari when invoked from the share sheet. In order to protect against malicious JavaScript that, for example, trick the user into running a script on a social media website that harvests their data, updated malware definitions are downloaded to identify malicious scripts at run-time. The first time that a user runs Javascript on a domain, the user is prompted to allow Shortcuts containing javascript to run on the current webpage for that domain.

Screen Time, meanwhile uses CloudKit's end-to-end encryption to protect usage data. Apple only collects Screen Time statistics if iPhone and Apple Watch analytics is turned on, with Apple monitoring whether Screen Time was turned on during Setup Assistant, whether Screen Time is turned on, whether Downtime is enabled, the number of times the "Ask for more" feature is used, and the number of app limits applied.

One interesting bit in the document relates to the new feature that lets a second appearance be added to Face ID in iOS 12. Adding a secondary appearance, says Apple, will decrease the probability that a random person can unlock the iPhone from 1 in 1,000,000 to 1 in 500,000.

The probability that a random person in the population could unlock your iPhone is 1 in 50,000 with Touch ID or 1 in 1,000,000 with Face ID. This probability increases with multiple enrolled fingerprints (up to 1 in 10,000 with five fingerprints) or appearances (up to 1 in 500,000 with two appearances).

Apple's security document explains in detail how each and every iOS 12 feature works and how it's protected. The guide is filled with many small but significant details on iOS 12 features, and for anyone interested in the security of the iPhone and the iPad, the full document is worth checking out.

Top Rated Comments

noraa Avatar
29 months ago

I still don’t understand any of that. Shouldn’t increasing the appearances or fingerprints decrease the probability of false positives, as in make it harder for unauthorized access because there’s more data to screen against before granting access?

No, because adding an additional face or fingerprint isn't giving additional data to an existing entry - it is adding a second entry.

Think of it this way. Let's say you use a 4 digit pin to unlock your phone. The chances of a person guessing that pin is 1 in 10000. Now let's say you can unlock your phone not with just the one pin code, but another pin code. Suddenly, the chance of a person guessing your pin becomes 2 in 10000, or 1 in 5000.

The same idea goes for FaceID and TouchID, the difference being that someone isn't going to be "guessing" your fingerprint or face - but that a person with similar fingerprints or face may be able to unlock the phone. This is called a false positive - someone is able to unlock the phone when they shouldn't be able to (versus a false negative, when someone should be able to unlock the phone but they can't).

At the moment, the false positive rate for FaceID is 1 in 1000000 - i.e. the chance of a person who looks similar enough to you unlocking your phone is 1 in a million. If you add a second appearance (either of your own face or of someone else), then the false positive rate will double to 2 in 1000000, or 1 in 500000.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jasonefmonk Avatar
29 months ago

Adding a secondary appearance, says Apple, will decrease the probability that a random person can unlock the iPhone from 1 in 1,000,000 to 1 in 500,000.

That is a misinterpretation of the information. Adding additional fingerprints or appearances increases the probability of false positives. It is stated in the quote just after:

The probability that a random person in the population could unlock your iPhone is 1 in 50,000 with Touch ID or 1 in 1,000,000 with Face ID. This probability increases with multiple enrolled fingerprints (up to 1 in 10,000 with five fingerprints) or appearances (up to 1 in 500,000 with two appearances).

Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
noraa Avatar
29 months ago

I'm sorry but whats the difference between a mathematical representation and a pixel representation? They're both unique so there isn't anything more secure about one vs the other.. You might save some storage space at most.

It’s a huge difference! A mathematical representation isn’t going to be reversed engineered back into your face. Their are no identifying markers to trace it back to you.

Thats what they say, but you don't know if thats what they do. They don't let you verify their software... It's proprietary they can say one thing and do the other... Just like any malicious entity.
It's easy to make a software button look unselected but make the internal choice selected. It's also easy to write around the signed authorization... The fact that they have the ability to do this period should concern people.
If they didn't want people to have access to this information they wouldn't build a door to get it... Which is suspicious in my view. And is probably designed for abuse from the beginning...

Do you really think that Apple would secretly do this? Do you know what kind of PR nightmare that would turn into if someone found out?

Seriously, if you’re this paranoid, just don’t use FaceID. But stop spreading FUD.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sinsin07 Avatar
29 months ago

I came, I saw, I closed the App.

I am a power user and I can't think of a single use case.

Then that makes you an average user. :p
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OldSchoolMacGuy Avatar
29 months ago

I came, I saw, I closed the App.

I am a power user and I can't think of a single use case.

Then you aren't really a power user.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jyby Avatar
29 months ago
Science Rules!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

0 Deals Hero

Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Deals to Plan For

Saturday November 21, 2020 10:00 am PST by
In the lead-up to Black Friday next week, we've been putting a spotlight on the best deals coming from various retailers like Best Buy and Walmart. In an effort to further prepare our readers for the best Black Friday deals, we're breaking down what we think should be on your radar for Black Friday in 2020. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
m1 mac mini vignette

Apple Lists M1-Based Mac Mini Logic Boards With 10 Gigabit Ethernet in Internal Parts Ordering System

Friday November 20, 2020 9:32 am PST by
While the new Mac mini with the M1 chip is only available with Gigabit Ethernet, Apple has listed multiple M1-based Mac mini logic boards with 10 Gigabit Ethernet in an internal parts list for Apple Authorized Service Providers. For every Mac mini logic board with Gigabit Ethernet in the parts list, obtained by MacRumors, there is a corresponding logic board with 10 Gigabit Ethernet:...
new m1 chip

Craig Federighi: Native Windows on M1 Macs is 'Really up to Microsoft'

Friday November 20, 2020 11:57 am PST by
Following the release of the M1 Macs Apple executives have been doing interviews with a range of publications, and today, Ars Technica published another interview with software engineering chief Craig Federighi, hardware technologies lead Johny Srouji, and marketing VP Greg Joswiak. Much of the interview focuses on topics that the three have already covered in prior discussions, but there is ...
14

Apple Releases iOS 14.2.1 With Fix for Text Message Bug and iPhone 12 Mini Lock Screen Issues

Thursday November 19, 2020 10:16 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 14.2.1, a bug fix update that comes two weeks after the launch of iOS 14.2 and is available for Apple's new iPhone 12 models. The iOS 14.2.1 update can be downloaded for free and it is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's release notes, iOS...
Walmart November Deals Hero

Black Friday Spotlight: Walmart Will Have AirPods Pro Down to Lowest Price of $169, and More Apple Deals

Thursday November 19, 2020 8:05 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Walmart. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Next ...
apple leather sleeve

Leather Sleeve for iPhone 12 Models Now Available From Apple

Friday November 20, 2020 12:16 pm PST by
Apple today began selling the Leather Sleeve for the new iPhone 12 models, with the accessory having first been announced alongside the updated iPhones in October. Priced at $129, the Leather Sleeve is not a case and is designed to be removed when the iPhone is in use. It features a cutout at the front that displays the time, and it comes with a matching leather strap. According to Apple, it ...
iOS14AntitrackFacebookSadfeature

Apple Confirms Commitment to App Tracking Transparency in Letter Condemning Facebook's Data Collection [Updated]

Thursday November 19, 2020 11:58 am PST by
Apple in iOS 14 is planning to introduce a new App Tracking Transparency feature that will let users know when companies want to track them across apps and website. Following outcry from developers like Facebook and ad networks unprepared for the change, Apple delayed the implementation of the anti-tracking functionality until early 2021. Eight civil society organizations recently sent a...
maxresdefault

CrossOver Allows x86 Windows Apps to Run on Apple M1 Macs

Wednesday November 18, 2020 6:07 pm PST by
Codeweavers posted a blog post and video tonight showing off CrossOver running on an Apple M1 MacBook Air. This video shows Team Fortress 2 running on a new M1 MacBook Air: CrossOver is software (based on Wine Project) that runs Microsoft Windows apps on the Mac by translating Windows APIs into their Mac equivalents. The Codeweavers team was able to run the current version of CrossOver on...
macbookpro13large

Apple Offers Instructions on What to Do if macOS Big Sur Causes Installation Errors on 2013 and 2014 MacBook Pro

Thursday November 19, 2020 6:12 pm PST by
Following the release of macOS Big Sur last week, a number of 2013 and 2014 MacBook Pro owners found that the update bricked their machines. Affected users saw their Macs get stuck displaying a black screen after attempting to install the new software. Apple has now addressed this issue in a new support document that provides instructions on what to do if macOS Big Sur can't be installed on...
128gb m1 macbook air education cropped

$799 M1 MacBook Air With 128GB Storage for Education Institutions Spotted Online

Friday November 20, 2020 5:15 am PST by
A new configuration of the M1 MacBook Air with 128GB of storage and a lower $799 price has today been spotted on Apple's U.S. Education Institution Hardware and Software Price List. The M1 MacBook Air is only available with 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB of storage. There is currently no 128GB configuration on the Apple Store. However, Reddit user "u/dduci97" noticed that Apple has listed...