Apps

Apple’s system to tell on creepy apps just arrived in beta

Apple’s App Privacy Report, announced at WWDC 2021, has made its way onto iPhones with the first release of the iOS 15.2 beta, according to MacRumors. The new screen in Settings gives users an overview of what information their apps have access to and what they’re sharing.

According to Apple’s WWDC announcement, the feature will show you what permissions apps have and how often they accessed them over the past week (for example, it could show that your weather app accesses your location every hour). The report will also show you which other web domains the app contacted and let you compare that with the sites you visited directly in the app to give you a better idea of who could be seeing your data.

Apple’s Safari Privacy Report, which shows similar data but for the websites you visit instead of the apps you use.

Some of Apple’s other privacy initiatives haven’t sat well with all developers. It took Google almost two months to adopt iOS App Store privacy labels, and both Facebook and Snap partially blamed the iPhone’s Ad Tracking Transparency feature (which lets users easily opt out of certain forms of ad tracking) for missed revenue goals. It’s possible that we’ll see more complaints from developers if the App Privacy Report paints them in a negative light.

As always with betas, it’s not a sure-fire thing that this feature will make it into the final 15.2 release. However, Apple’s SharePlay feature, which showed up in the 15.1 beta (after being taken out from an earlier beta release), did end up shipping with the final version, so there’s a good chance we could see the privacy report soon. Whether we like what shows may be another story entirely.

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