New iOS to limit how apps collect users' data

Apple was dancing to the privacy tune at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, announcing that the latest version of its mobile operating system will restrict how iPhone apps collect users' data.

Apple device users can sign in to third-party apps and online services using their Apple ID in the new iOS 13 operating system.

Delivering the keynote address on Monday, Apple's software chief Craig Federighi said: "(Facebook or Google) log-ins can be used to track you, so we wanted to solve this."

For instance, third-party apps receive people's birthday and other personal information when they sign in with Google or Facebook.

But when users log in to third-party apps using Sign In with Apple, the apps will receive only their names and a randomly generated e-mail alias if they want to conceal their actual e-mail addresses.

The iOS 13 will also block apps from using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections to figure out a user's location. And apps need to ask for permission each time they want to access a user's location again.

The new privacy features come amid greater scrutiny of the way big tech firms share and allow third parties such as app makers to use consumers' personal data to better target them with ads, for instance.

 
 

However, the iOS 13 will no longer support older handsets such as the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Technology consultant Larry Leong, 51, said the iOS 12 is serving him well on his iPhone 6 and he has no intention to upgrade the operating system. "As long as the apps I need still work, I'm not bothered," he said.

Apple will also roll out a separate operating system software for the iPad instead of using the iOS. Additionally, there will be a separate App Store and a new operating system called the watchOS 6 for the Apple Watch.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2019, with the headline 'New iOS to limit how apps collect users' data'. Print Edition | Subscribe