Siri, Mail, and more are just a few of the 4 iOS 15 privacy features you should know about: Siri

Siri, Mail, and more are just a few of the 4 iOS 15 privacy features you should know about: Siri ...

This article is part of WWDC 2021. All the latest news from Apple's annual developers conference.

Apple's iOS 15 released last summer, and as expected, the tech giant took steps to burnish its privacy credentials. We got our first glimpse of the operating system at the company's annual developer conference WWDC 2021, before it went public for months, undergoing a variety of changes until its final release. It's now available for download, and here'' is how to check if your phone can run iOS 15.

Once you've downloaded the operating system, you will be able to use Apple's new FaceTime features, which allow Android and PC users to participate for the first time. You'll also get iMessage enhancements that make it simpler to track links and photos your friends have sent. And iOS 15 includes plenty of new privacy and security features, though a set of features designed to protect children from sexual predators on some of its iPhones won't be one of them. If you're like me -- one of the billions of iPhone users -- then I'd say it's worth learning about new privacy enhancements on Apple' newest operating system as well as going ahead and changing some of your settings right away.

Read more: 3 things you absolutely must know before you install iOS beta on iPhone: 3 tips for installing iOS on your iPhone

The privacy changes, which were announced in June, will give you greater control over the data you're sharing with third parties and will tell you how those apps are using data from your Apple devices. In some cases, the changes also limit data collection. Even though these privacy changes may not affect your day-to-day experience as much as Siri may, they're well worth knowing about. Third parties that want your personal information may alter how your Apple device interacts with the internet.

Keep in mind, Apple has long used privacy as a selling point to differentiate itself from competitors like Google and Facebook. Even though the Cupertino-based firm has been humming about protecting consumer data from digital advertisers and internet service providers, it has reportedly strengthened its own search ad business at the same time, and it also hired (and fired) oblivious Facebook exec.

There's also a catch: Most of the new privacy options are free, but not all of them. To take advantage of the other options, you'll either have to own a newer Apple device or pay for re-ordering.

These privacy changes have digital advertisers and even journalists behind popular newsletters raised alarm for reasons I won't go into here. Regardless of what Apple's intentions may be, they're nevertheless gratifying for you.

Siri's security is enhanced thanks to in-device audio processing, which makes Siri more secure.

According to Apple, one of the most pressing privacy concerns for voice assistants will be eliminated with iOS 15.

Siri will no longer send your audio to servers for processing, unlike Amazon Echo and virtually all other competitors. Instead, it'll listen to your voice directly on your Apple device, thanks to on-device speech recognition. Siri will no longer need an active internet connection to function, according to Apple, as iPhones and iPads will take advantage of Apple devices' processing power to analyze speech. Siri will respond to basic commands like setting an alarm, setting a reminder, or launching an app while offline. This update doesn't include Siri searching the web for information.

Beyond the amped-up privacy, Apple claims that Siri's response time will be faster for some requests, since the audio processing can now be performed offline.

As I mentioned earlier, some privacy features have a draw. Only iPhone and iPads with the A12 Bionic chip may take advantage of Siri's in-device audio processing when it is released.

This app Privacy report will provide you with important information on third-party access to data and sensors.

If you were a fan of Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, then you'll probably love the App Privacy report as well. The report, taking a page from Safari's playbook, will be outlined in 'Settings', giving you hints on how apps treat your privacy. You can see when individual apps request access to features like the camera, microphone, and see where or with whom your data may have been shared within the last seven days, adding an extra layer of security to iOS 15.

Safari & Mail Privacy Protection: Hides your IP address.

Apple's Mail Privacy protection feature that will be available to the Mail app will limit the amount of data that senders gather from you when you open their promotional emails or newsletters. The ability to hide your IP address so that it can't be linked to other online activities or used to determine their location can potentially prevent spammy email marketers from learning more about your email or internet activity.

Apple described it this way:

"Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to gather information about the user in the Mail app." The new feature prevents senders from knowing when they open an email and masks their IP address so it can't be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.

Apple has also said that IP address obfuscation will happen on Safari.

iCloud Plus's private relay technology encrypts web traffic.

Apple also announced that paid users to iCloud Plus will be given a couple of new privacy options.

Safari's private relay feature, which aims to conceal an individual'' urling habits from advertisers and internet service providers, is one of them. It'll do this by encrypting the traffic leaving an Apple device, so that it cannot be intercepted by third-parties, including Apple, who may then read what's being sought for.

The second feature is called hide my email. If you're a subscriber, it will prompt you to email when you register for things, such as establishing an account with an online retailer, and whatever it's sent will be sent to your exact email address. The goal is that less businesses will have access to people's direct email addresses.

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