Apple Updates Privacy Policy for iOS 9

Apple had a a lot to say about the upcoming iOS 9 release during their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco earlier this month.  Tim Cook made it clear in the days leading up to the conference that Apple was going a different direction than companies like Google and Facebook.  Cook said that Apple plans to focus on protecting customer privacy.  The latest privacy policy changes for iOS 9 are right in line with Mr. Cook’s message.  The new iOS release will protect users from having app developers spy on the other apps installed on your iPhone or iPad.

iOS 9

Developers could previously scan your iOS device for other apps you have installed.  Why would anyone want to use app scanning to find out what else you enjoy on your iPhone or iPad?  Large companies like Facebook and Twitter could use the information to better target ads based on the user’s app preferences.  I can think of other reasons an application developer might want a list of other apps on a users device.  Whatever the purpose, developers will not have the ability to spy on other apps anymore.  Apple will start blocking app scanning in their iOS 9 release.

When I first read about the update I was glad that Apple decided to block app scanning but was concerned that they had given app developers the ability to spy on users apps in the past.  Upon further research it appears that it wasn’t Apple’s intention.  They have an API in iOS called “canopenURL” that is intended to make it easier for apps to communicate with each other.  Big advertisers like Facebook and Twitter were taking advantage of the API to track the other apps to target ads.  I would like to say that’s surprising but it definitely isn’t.  Once again Apple will plug the privacy hole in iOS 9 which is set to be released this summer.

Apple is quite busy this year.  They started by rolling out the iWatch.  Then they partnered with HBO to help launch their much anticipated HBO NOW service through the Apple store.  They will be doing the same with Showtime next month.  This year’s WWDC also included an announcement and demonstration of the new Apple Music service.  Apple is certainly not new to the music industry but this will be their first time competing in the streaming music industry.  They have set a goal of 100 million paid customers.  A number well above the competition.

Perhaps Apple’s biggest news of the year is still yet to come.  In the weeks leading up to WWDC we kept hearing about Apple’s upcoming streaming video service.  Apple is rumored to be putting all the agreements in place to introduce a new Apple TV streaming service.  When that happens Apple will go head to head with cable and satellite companies.  If they can put the agreements in place to offer local broadcasts as part of Apple TV the service could be quite appealing to cord cutters everywhere.