Apple might be the only one that sounds the loudest when it comes to upholding the privacy and security of its users though recent research by a pair of app security enthusiasts has brought to the fore some shocking results. As the software firm Mysk run by Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry discovered, the stock Apple apps are engaged in collecting a copious amount of user data which are then sent back to the company servers.
The duo made the discovery using a pair of iPhone devices, one jailbroken and running iOS 14.6 and another regular iPhone running iOS 16. The latter of course didn’t reveal exactly what user data was being sent back to the company as all of the data is encrypted. However, what the pair found out is that the packets and web addresses turned out to be the same as that the jailbroken iPhone was found sending. And they could see in detail all that the Apple apps were collecting and sending back to the company.
Much to the dismay of the pair, it turned out to be a comprehensive collection of user data that Apple collects. For the App Store, that includes the ads you have seen, what you have searched for, things you have tapped on, the amount of time you have spent on a page, and so on. Accompanying the information sent is the device ID number, the particular model of the iPhone, screen resolution, connection type, and keyboard language.
What is even more shocking is that all of this continues unabated even if you have opted out of all data collection parameters that the company has to offer. Those include personalized ads, sharing usage data and analytics, personalized recommendations, and such. Ironically, this seems to apply to only the stock Apple apps while third-party apps such as Chrome and Edge aren’t found to send back any user data when the sharing option is turned off.
On a positive note, Apple seems to maintain better standards when it comes to apps related to health and wallet as none of the Apple Health or Wallet apps were found to send any analytics back to the company servers. What that means is that Apple does not collect any information related to your health or finances. However, it will still be able to figure out if you are looking to take a loan or losing some flab if you have been searching for new property or fitness apps.
Under the circumstances, it is going to be interesting to see how Apple justifies its move given all the big talking it has done about the privacy and security of its user’s information. It had even refused to comply with requests from government security agencies when the latter sought Apple’s help in unlocking an iPhone belonging to someone accused of terrorism, all on the pretext of preserving user’s privacy. Maybe it will claim it is collecting user data on the pretext of providing better and more personalized services.