Apple Highlights New Privacy Features in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, Including Microphone Indicator on Mac

Apple today previewed new privacy protections coming in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8. The software updates are available in beta for developers starting today and will be publicly released later this year.

macos monterey microphone indicator
First, a new App Privacy Report feature will let users see how often apps have used the permission they've previously granted to access their location, photos, camera, microphone, and contacts during the past seven days. Users can also find out with whom their data may be shared by seeing all the third-party domains an app is contacting.

App Privacy Report will arrive as part of a future software update to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and watchOS 8 later this year.

Second, a new Hide My Email feature will provide users with access to unique, random iCloud email addresses that forward emails to their personal inbox anytime they wish to keep their personal email address private. Hide My Email will debut in the Mail app as part of a future update to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and iCloud.com, and it will enable users to create and delete as many email addresses as needed at any time.

Apple has introduced a new iCloud+ subscription plan that combines Apple's existing iCloud storage tiers with privacy features such as Hide My Email, iCloud Private Relay, and expanded HomeKit Secure Video support, at no additional cost.

Private Relay is a new VPN-like service that's built right into iCloud, allowing users to connect to and browse the web in a more secure and private way. When browsing in Safari on Apple devices, Private Relay will ensure all traffic leaving the device is encrypted.

Apple on Private Relay:

All the user's requests are then sent through two separate internet relays. The first assigns the user an anonymous IP address that maps to their region but not their actual location. The second decrypts the web address they want to visit and forwards them to their destination. This separation of information protects the user's privacy because no single entity can identify both who a user is and which sites they visit.

iCloud+ expands built-in support for HomeKit Secure Video, allowing for unlimited cameras:

  • 50GB of iCloud storage with one HomeKit Secure Video camera for $0.99 per month
  • 200GB of iCloud storage with up to five HomeKit Secure Video cameras for $2.99 per month
  • 2TB of iCloud storage with an unlimited number of HomeKit Secure Video cameras for $9.99 per month

Next up is Siri, which is moving to on-device speech recognition with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, meaning the audio of users' requests is processed right on their iPhone or iPad by default. For many requests, Siri processing is also moving on device, enabling requests to be processed without an internet connection, such as launching apps, setting timers and alarms, changing settings, or controlling music.

Since the release of iOS 14, an iPhone displays a green or orange dot in the status bar when an app is using the device's camera or microphone, respectively. Now, starting with macOS Monterey, users can also see which apps have access to their Mac's microphone in Control Center. A new software indicator augments the camera indicator light by showing you whenever an app has access to the microphone. This complements the hardware-based green light that appears next to a Mac's webcam when it is active.

Other new privacy features outlined by Apple:

  • With share current location, users can easily share their current location with an app just once, without giving the developer further access after that session. Developers can customize the share current location button, and integrate it directly into their apps.
  • With enhanced Photos limited library access, developers can offer smart functionality — like a recent photos folder for specific albums — even when a user has only granted limited access.
  • With secure paste, developers can let users paste from a different app without having access to what was copied until the user takes action to paste it into their app. When developers use secure paste, users will be able to paste without being alerted via the pasteboard transparency notification, helping give them peace of mind.

These are only some of the new privacy features coming in Apple's new software updates, and we'll be highlighting others in the coming days.

Related Roundups: iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey
Related Forums: iOS 15, macOS Monterey

Top Rated Comments

Theyayarealivin Avatar
2 weeks ago
Love... How apple is taking privacy seriously!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
szw-mapple fan Avatar
2 weeks ago

Because you shouldn't be trying to pick up the every browser that walks by and winks at you. :p
Was not expecting to read about anthropomorphized browsers today :p.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple_Robert Avatar
2 weeks ago

Is there any reason why Private Relay is only on Safari and not system-wide?
Because you shouldn't be trying to pick up every browser that walks by and winks at you. :P
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wolfshades Avatar
2 weeks ago
Man, Apple is really stepping up their security game. I’m more than pleased with what was presented today and can’t wait to see IOS 15 roll out.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
_Spinn_ Avatar
2 weeks ago
The App Privacy Report sounds great!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
countryside Avatar
2 weeks ago
Is there any reason why Private Relay is only on Safari and not system-wide?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Says iOS Picture-in-Picture Coming to All US Users

Friday June 18, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
After a long wait, YouTube for iOS is officially gaining picture-in-picture support, allowing all users, non-premium and premium subscribers, to close the YouTube app and continue watching their video in a small pop-up window. In a statement to MacRumors, YouTube says that picture-in-picture is currently rolling out to all premium subscribers on iOS and that a larger rollout to all US iOS...
Top Stories 63 Feature

Top Stories: Beats Studio Buds Announced, Apple Watch Series 7 Rumors, and More

Saturday June 19, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The Apple news cycle started to move beyond WWDC this week, but that doesn't mean there still wasn't a lot to talk about, led by the official debut of the much-leaked Beats Studio Buds that might give us a hint of what to expect for the second-generation AirPods Pro. With no hardware announcements at WWDC, we also took a look at when we might finally see the long-rumored redesigned MacBook...
ios wifi settings

iOS Bug Causes Specific Network Name to Disable Wi-Fi on iPhones

Sunday June 20, 2021 4:15 am PDT by
A wireless network naming bug has been discovered in iOS that effectively disables an iPhone's ability to connect to Wi-Fi. Security researcher Carl Schou found that after joining a Wi-Fi network with the name "%p%s%s%s%s%n" his iPhone's Wi-Fi functionality was left "permanently disabled." Changing a hotspot's SSID did nothing to correct the problem, with even a reboot failing to make a...
maxresdefault

Video: 20 Annoyances Apple Fixed in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey

Friday June 18, 2021 11:36 am PDT by
With iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, Apple is adding several quality of life improvements, which are designed to address some of the complaints that people have had with these operating systems for years now. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, we're highlighting some of our favorite "fix" features that address long-running problems in iOS and...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

When Can We Expect the Redesigned MacBook Pros Now?

Wednesday June 16, 2021 7:11 am PDT by
With no sign of redesigned MacBook Pro models at this year's WWDC, when can customers expect the much-anticipated new models to launch? A number of reports, including investor notes from Morgan Stanley and Wedbush analysts, claimed that new MacBook Pro models would be coming during this year's WWDC. This did not happen, much to the disappointment of MacBook Pro fans, who have been...
space gray magic accessories trio

Apple Stops Selling Magic Accessories in Space Gray

Friday June 18, 2021 9:16 am PDT by
Apple this week stopped selling its Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 accessories for the Mac in a Space Gray color, around three months after discontinuing the iMac Pro, which also came in Space Gray. Last month, Apple listed the Space Gray accessories as available while supplies last, and the company has now removed the product pages from its website...
m1 v intel thumb

Intel Processor Market Share May Fall to New Low Next Year Due to Apple Silicon

Friday June 18, 2021 2:06 am PDT by
Intel may see its market share fall to a new low next year, in large part thanks to Apple's decision to move away from using Intel processors in its Mac computers and instead use Apple silicon. Apple announced last year that it would embark on a two-year-long journey to transition all of its Mac computers, both desktops, and laptops, to use its own in-house processors. Apple is expected to...
3nm apple silicon feature

Apple Supplier TSMC Readies 3nm Chip Production for Second Half of 2022

Friday June 18, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
Apple supplier TSMC is preparing to produce 3nm chips in the second half of 2022, and in the coming months, the supplier will begin production of 4nm chips, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple had previously booked the initial capacity of TSMC's 4nm chip production for future Macs and more recently ordered TSMC to begin production of the A15 chip for the upcoming iPhone 13,...
2021 back t0 school

Apple Launches 2021 Back to School Promotion: Free AirPods With Eligible Mac or iPad Purchase

Thursday June 17, 2021 4:56 am PDT by
Apple today launched its seasonal back-to-school sale for the upcoming school year in the United States and Canada, offering students free AirPods alongside purchases of select Macs and iPad models. Similar to last year's promotion, this year's offer includes free AirPods alongside the purchase of a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, the new 24-inch iMac, the Mac Pro, Mac mini, and the new M1-powered ...
applecare lower prices

Apple Lowers Prices of AppleCare+ Plans for M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

Thursday June 17, 2021 7:33 am PDT by
Apple today lowered the prices of AppleCare+ plans for MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro models equipped with the M1 chip. Coverage offered by the plans, as well as accidental damage fees, appear to remain unchanged. In the United States, AppleCare+ for the MacBook Air now costs $199, down from $249. The new price applies to both M1 and Intel-based MacBook Air models, although Apple no...