Top 8 security and privacy features in iOS 15
Apple has released iOS 15. The new OS builds on the security and privacy changes introduced in iOS 14 — adding some powerful new features to help keep you safe online.
Here are some of the most important iOS 15 security and privacy features to know about:
Mail Privacy Protection
Mail Privacy Protection is a Mail feature that prevents email senders from using tracking pixels to collect information about you. This means that email marketers will no longer be able to use pixels to see whether or not you’ve opened an email, or to determine your IP address. To turn it on, go to Settings > Mail > Privacy Protection and use the toggle for Protect Mail Activity.
Private Relay (iCloud+ only)
iCloud+ users get a new privacy feature called Private Relay. It’s not quite a full VPN, but it helps to protect your privacy when you use Safari. Private Relay encrypts your Safari traffic and routes your DNS lookup requests through an Apple server and through another server owned by a trusted third party. End result? Your ISP doesn’t know what you’re doing online, and websites can’t see your IP address to track you. If you have iCloud+, you can enable Private Relay at Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Private Relay (Beta).
Hide My Email (iCloud+ only)
Hide My Email is another new feature available only to iCloud+ users. It lets you create random iCloud email addresses that forward to your inbox. You can generate one of these “burner” email addresses any time you want and give it out freely. If someone starts spamming or annoying you via that address, just delete it. Now they can no longer contact you — and they never had your real email address to begin with! To get started with Hide My Email, go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Hide My Email > Create new address.
HTTPS upgrade (Safari)
In Safari 15, web content served with the insecure HTTP protocol will automatically be upgraded to HTTPS whenever possible. HTTPS is considered to be far more secure than HTTP, because it encrypts the connection between users and websites. This will be the default setting in Safari, so you don’t have to do anything in order to enable HTTPS upgrade.
Hide IP address from trackers (Safari)
Safari 15 also gets an important upgrade to the Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature. Trackers will now be prevented from seeing users’ IP addresses. This means that they can no longer use your IP address to build a profile of your web activity — or to track you across the Internet.
Record App Activity
Apple has been committed to App Tracking Transparency for over a year now. The basic idea is that people have a right to know how apps are using their data. In iOS 15, you’ll be able to record what apps are doing on your device with Record App Activity. The feature lets you save a 7-day summary of when apps access your location, microphone, and other data — and when they contact other domains. To start recording, go to Settings > Privacy > Record App Activity.
Siri privacy upgrades
In iOS 15, Siri will process your audio requests directly on your iPhone by default. This means that Apple won’t have to record you — or send your audio requests to its servers for processing (which has raised privacy concerns in the past). Siri will also be able to handle some basic commands offline. If you simply want to set an alarm, launch an app, or play your favorite song, you can now do this without an Internet connection.
Apple Wallet keys and ID
iOS 15 brings support for Apple Wallet home keys for HomeKit-compatible door locks, as well as for Wallet-based office, hotel, and car keys. In theory, storing such keys on a locked, encrypted iPhone will be more secure than physical keys, which can be easily used (or copied) by bad guys if they are lost or stolen. iOS 15 also introduces support for ID in Apple Wallet. There have been some privacy concerns about the feature, but given the current state of the pandemic, a contactless ID option will still be a physical safety win for many users.