As an Apple user, there’s a constant feeling in the back of your mind that you’re being watched. You’re suspicious that the Cupertino giant is keeping an eye on your location wherever you go. Although, according to Apple’s own privacy page, none of the information your iOS device collects as you use it is sent to identify you personally. Plus, the device will only send the analytics after you’ve given your explicit consent — and you can easily opt out of that feature, too. So, what exactly happens when Apple is able to see your analytics? and why are users so concerned?
While it is comforting to know that Apple can only access your information if given the prior consent, many users are still unsure of what exact information they’d be collecting in the first place. It turns out, regular Apple users can breathe easy. According to Apple officials, they are only interested in collecting data based around hardware and operating system specifications, performance statistics, and data on how you use your device and various applications. In other words: not the 15,000 attempts you made to get your dog to look at the camera mid-selfie, and certainly not your almost entirely blurry photo you took at a club.
When Apple collects this information, your personal data is not collected at all, and it’s then removed before Apple receives it, or it’s protected by something called Differential Privacy, which lets Apple improve its services and devices without overstepping any boundaries when it comes to your privacy. More specifically, Differential Privacy inserts random information into your data before it’s sent off to Apple. This makes it impossible for Apple to associate that information with your device. Instead, Apple is looking for patterns when it combines your data with that of other users.
So what exactly does all of this means? Essentially, it means that Apple only conducts analysis on the data a user has after it’s gone through their removal process. By the time the information gets to Apple, it can’t be associated with a user personally in any way, shape, or form.
As Apple has recently iterated with an ad promoting its privacy measures, the company takes privacy in a new serious light. Differential Privacy and on-device intelligence help keep control in your hands, so you decide what you want to do with your own information.
In fact, you can figure out if your messages are protected without needing to know anything specific about encryption. You know how sometimes, when you text someone, the text bubbles are green and not blue? Most of us know that this means we’re communicating with someone who’s not using an iPhone. The green text bubbles on your iPhone also mean the text messages are not encrypted — unlike the blue ones, which are. Fortunately, there are work-arounds. For instance, you could instead use WhatsApp, which operates with end-to-end encryption and works on both iPhone and Android.
App Analytics is Apple’s very own analytics platform. It lives right inside of App Store Connect and was first announced at the WWDC in summer 2014. Tt launched finally in spring 2015 and just recently added new metrics on the discovery of your apps.
One might say just “another” analytics platform like free solutions from Flurry/Yahoo Mobile, Google or Facebook, but App Analytics finally provides reliable data nobody else can
Apple takes similar security precautions with all of its products. If you’re shopping, paying bills, or chatting with your grandma on FaceTime, everything is encrypted. When you use Apple Pay, your card numbers are never stored on the device or Apple’s servers. All of your iCloud content? Encrypted. Meaning Apple users don’t necessarily have any reason to worry about their personal information at all.