Apple extends its privacy leadership with new updates across its platforms

Apple

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA Apple today announced new updates across its platforms that help empower users and keep them in control of their data. Private Cloud Compute extends the industry-leading protections of iPhone to the cloud, so that users don’t have to choose between powerful intelligence grounded in their personal context and strong privacy protections. Apple also raised the bar for privacy with new features, such as locked and hidden apps, aimed at helping users protect sensitive areas of their phones. Apple introduced additional features designed with privacy and security in mind, including categorization in Mail, Messages via satellite, and presenter preview.

“Private Cloud Compute allows Apple Intelligence to process complex user requests with groundbreaking privacy,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “We’ve extended iPhone’s industry-leading security to the cloud, with what we believe is the most advanced security architecture ever deployed for cloud AI at scale. Private Cloud Compute uses your data only to fulfill your request, and never stores it, making sure it’s never accessible to anyone, including Apple. And we’ve designed the system so that independent experts can verify these protections.”

Superior Privacy for AI Capabilities

Apple Intelligence, the personal intelligence system that puts powerful generative models right at the core of iPhone, iPad, and Mac, makes a user’s most personal devices even more useful and delightful.

A cornerstone of Apple Intelligence is on-device processing, which delivers personal intelligence without collecting users’ data. In those times when a user needs models that are larger than what can fit in their pocket today, Private Cloud Compute allows Apple Intelligence to flex and scale its computational capacity, drawing on larger, server-based models to handle more complex requests, all while protecting user privacy.

When a user makes a request, Apple Intelligence analyzes whether it can be processed on device. If it needs greater computational capacity, it can draw on Private Cloud Compute, which will send only the data that is relevant to the task to be processed on Apple silicon servers. When requests are routed to Private Cloud Compute, data is not stored or made accessible to Apple, and is only used to fulfill the user’s requests.

The Apple silicon servers that form the foundation of Private Cloud Compute provide unprecedented cloud security. This starts with the Secure Enclave, which protects critical encryption keys on the server just as it does on a user’s iPhone, while Secure Boot ensures the OS running on the server is signed and verified, just like in iOS. Trusted Execution Monitor makes sure only signed and verified code runs, and attestation enables a user’s device to securely verify the identity and configuration of a Private Cloud Compute cluster before sending a request. And to verify Apple’s privacy promise, independent experts can inspect the code that runs on Private Cloud Compute servers.

More details on Private Cloud Compute can be found at security.apple.com/blog/private-cloud-compute.

More Privacy Features Designed to Empower Users

Locked and hidden apps give users peace of mind that others won’t inadvertently see something unintended when showing their screen to someone else, or handing them their device. Users can lock an app to protect its contents from view, or hide an app to help prevent others from seeing it. When a user locks an app, if someone tries to tap it, they will be required to authenticate using Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode. For additional privacy, a user can also hide an app, moving it to a locked, hidden apps folder that requires Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode to open.

“We relentlessly deliver on our commitment to give users the strongest and most innovative privacy protections,” said Erik Neuenschwander, Apple’s director of User Privacy. “This year is no exception, and the ability to lock and hide apps is just one example of Apple helping users remain in control of their information, even when they are sharing their devices with others.”

For years, Apple has worked to ensure that a user can share exactly what they want to, and with whom. In 2020, Apple introduced the Photos picker, which lets a user select photos and videos to use in an app, without requiring full Photo Library access. This year, Apple has two new features that expand on this protection. With Contacts permission improvements in iOS 18, Apple is putting users in control by letting them choose which contacts to share with an app, rather than give an app access to all their contacts. Accessory Setup Kit also allows developers to provide an intuitive new way to pair a user’s accessories without letting an app see all the other devices on their network, keeping their devices private and making pairing seamless.

Other new updates across Apple’s platforms make it easier than ever for users to take advantage of privacy and security features.

Building on the foundation of Keychain, which Apple first introduced more than 25 years ago, the new Passwords app makes it easy for users to access account passwords, passkeys, Wi-Fi passwords, and two-factor authentication codes stored securely in Keychain. The app also includes alerts for users regarding common weaknesses, such as passwords that can be easily guessed, have been used multiple times, or have appeared in known data leaks.

The new Passwords app is shown.

The new Passwords app makes it easy for users to access account passwords, passkeys, Wi-Fi passwords, and two-factor authentication codes stored securely in Keychain, and includes alerts for users regarding common weaknesses.

Additionally, the refreshed Privacy & Security section in Settings surfaces glanceable information, so users can more easily understand the level of access each app has.

The refreshed Privacy & Security section in Settings is shown on iPhone 15 Pro.

The refreshed Privacy & Security section in Settings surfaces glanceable information, so users can more easily understand the level of access each app has.

Additional Features Built with Privacy by Design

Apple has been building privacy and security protections into its apps and services for many years, and iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia are no exception.

With iOS 18, categorization in Mail occurs entirely on a user’s iPhone, and automatically sorts messages into Primary, Promotions, Transactions, and Updates, letting users focus on the messages that matter to them most.

Categorization in Mail is shown on iPhone 15 Pro.

Categorization in Mail occurs entirely on device, automatically sorting messages into Primary, Promotions, Transactions, and Updates.

Messages via satellite in iOS 18 enables users to message their friends and family directly from their existing iMessage and SMS conversations when they are without access to cellular connectivity or Wi-Fi.1 When going off the grid, users can message over satellite right from the Messages app, while maintaining end-to-end encryption for iMessage.

Messages via satellite is shown on iPhone 15 Pro.

With Messages via satellite in iOS 18, users without access to cellular connectivity or Wi-Fi can message over satellite right from the Messages app, while maintaining end-to-end encryption for iMessage.

Presenter preview in macOS Sequoia helps ensure users no longer have to worry about oversharing when they’re video conferencing, using AirPlay, or plugging in with a cable. With apps like FaceTime and Zoom, users can share their whole screen, or just an app, and presenter preview appears automatically.

Presenter preview in macOS Sequoia enables users to share their whole screen, or just an app, and appears automatically when they share their content with apps like FaceTime and Zoom.

Availability

The developer betas of iOS 18, iPad OS 18, and macOS Sequoia are available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today, and public betas will be available next month at beta.apple.com

/Public Release.