Apple is introducing a new privacy feature

Apple is introducing a new privacy feature for iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV.

I was installing the new betas on my devices last night and saw for the first time a new screen during Apple’s standard setup process which advertises a new Privacy icon. “This icon appears when an Apple app or feature is asking to use your personal information,” says the prompt.

Here’s what it looks like on iOS 11.3.

Screenshot via @CraftyDeano.

It doesn’t seem to be an optional feature because you’re not being asked to opt-in.

Instead, an explainer screen provides only two options: Continue and Learn More. The company clarifies that users won’t see the new privacy icon with every system feature. “Apple only collects this information when it’s needed to enable features, to secure our services or to personalize your experience,” reads the prompt.

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As mentioned, it’s also present in tvOS 11.3 and macOS High Sierra 10.13.4.

Tapping the Learn More button does not offer a more detailed explanation on how this will work beyond acknowledging Apple’s approach to protecting user privacy:

Apple believes privacy is a fundamental human right, so every Apple product is designed to:

  • Use on-device processing wherever possible
  • Limit the collection and use of data
  • Provide transparency and control over your information
  • Build on a strong foundation of security

As the wording implies, this new icon will only apply to Apple apps and system features.

The new Privacy icon is coming to your Mac as well.

I couldn’t get this upcoming new feature to work in the latest betas and no one else seems to know how it will work. The Verge speculated that this new icon is “likely designed to thwart phishing attempts,” referring to nefarious apps which mimic a password prompt that looks identical to Apple’s own in an effort to steal the owner’s Apple ID/iCloud credentials.

Your Apple TV is getting the new Privacy icon, too!

“This privacy icon gets around that by appearing at the system level—likely in the top menu bar, but that’s not yet clear—when it’s definitely Apple asking you to enter a password or something else deemed personal,” The Verge wrote.

For third-party apps, Apple’s operating systems already provide robust privacy controls and permissions for accessing camera, contacts, motion data and more.

What do you think of this curious change in iOS 11.3, tvOS 11.3 and macOS High Sierra?

If you have found out how the new Privacy icon works, don’t hesitate to share your findings by leaving a comment down below.