Tech

What you need to know about Apple’s war on ‘digital fingerprinting’

What you need to know about Apple’s war on ‘digital fingerprinting’

Apple has said new operating systems powering its devices will include features created to thwart the use of secret trackers to monitor people's online activities. You can also create time windows where your kids won't be able to use their phones at all.

Many of these new Photos features revolve around the search function.

Users will also be able to receive weekly reports on the amount of time they spend in each app and limit themselves to a certain amount of time per day.

A new "bedtime" mode will be made available, adding features to the Do Not Disturb setting to darken device screens and hide notifications until the morning.

At WWDC, Mr Federighi also revealed Apple was increasing its data protection features so that any apps that ask to use a Mac's camera or microphone will need permission from the user. With the launch of Safari 12, users will get a notification to choose whether share their data with third-party widgets like Facebook Like buttons, Disqus comments widgets and other plug-ins on a page.

The Photos app in iOS 12 will take photo face recognition a step further by making suggestions on who you might want to share the photos with, depending on the subject.

Apple introduced new controls for limiting how much time customers spend on their devices as the company tackles criticism that its devices are becoming increasingly addictive and distracting. Incoming notifications from the same source will now be grouped together for easier management.

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Google's Android is a must for most non-Apple smartphones because it offers so many useful apps. They're encrypting data used to "fingerprint" devices and tie them to you, shutting down tracking cookies from social networks like Facebook.

The new Apple features are among the software updates previewed on Monday at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California.

Last month, Google announced a digital health tool to help users monitor their device use and change their behaviours as needed.

Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, said it was important to sometimes "stop distractions" caused by smartphones.

"Now, if you do want to interact with [a plugin] or one of these apps tries to access this information, you get a [pop-up notice] and you can decide to keep your information private", Federighi said. Last year, the company launched an Intelligent Tracking system that makes it more hard for advertisers to follow users around the web.

Not only does this capability make Siri a stronger challenge to Alexa, it could bolster the HomePod and future Apple speakers as a smart home hub, after a lackluster debut. Couples often pass their phones back and forth as a matter of practicality, and parents often let their children use their phones to play games and check out apps.


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