Last Updated on September 21, 2021 by Calvin C.
The wait is over and iOS 15 is here. We can accurately highlight all the various features in the new operating system without any speculation. From a cybersecurity viewpoint, let’s look at the new privacy and security upgrades you get in iOS 15.
On September 14, 2021, the new OS was unveiled. A brief mention of a few privacy features was made and now I go through each of them in detail.
You get to access most of these features on Monday, 20 September 2021, when iOS 15 becomes available for download to the public.
Update: iOS is now available for download.
These are the upgrades you expect to find in iOS 15:
1. Email privacy
Apple calls this Mail Privacy Protection, an optional feature which blocks any tracking images found in richly-formatted emails.
Without this feature, when you view an email, there is remote loading of content like images, videos or stylesheets.
This call-back gives the sender the ability to know these details about you:
- Your IP address
- Your geo-location
- What application you are using to view the email
- What platform you are using
- Confirmation that your email is active
This data is valuable to marketers and they can build a profile about you or even track you as you browse around the web.
Apple has created a clever system where it’s servers sit in the middle when you enable Mail Privacy Protection.
Instead of calling back servers belonging to the sender, Apple servers will be used and any attempt to extract data from the you, the email recipient, is not possible.
The senders of emails only receive randomly-generated IP addresses and data that they cannot make sense of.
This means automated features to send follow-up emails are unlikely to work effectively and marketers have to go back to the drawing board.
For more tips on keeping your email secure read this article.
2. Two-Factor Authentication code generator
Say goodbye to authentication apps as iOS 15 can autofill verification codes on sites that require 2-FA.
3. Secure Paste
Copying and pasting is now more secure than ever because no app is able to access what’s on the clipboard.
In normal cases, the clipboard is unencrypted and this is a privacy flaw.
Previously, iOS 14 gave a warning if there are apps that have access to data on the clipboard but iOS 15 makes things better.
One major breakthrough by iOS 15 is that speech recognition is now done right in your device, instead of the cloud.
All the voice analysis and transcription is done on your Apple device, something that companies like Google or Amazon need to copy.
In a cloud-based system, audio files are uploaded to online servers, which presents a privacy risk because anyone with access to the servers can listen to what you say.
Siri will take care of everything, continuously refining the process, and nothing leaves your device.
On September 20, the following language packs will be available for download:
Tap to see languages
- German (Germany)
- English (Australia, Canada, U.K, U.S, India)
- Spanish (Spain, Mexico, U.S)
- French (France)
- Japanese (Japan)
- Mandarin Chinese (China mainland)
- Cantonese (Hong Kong)
For a smoother experience, this feature is only available in devices with an A12 Bionic chipset or better. In addition, to avoid any issues with storage space for the packs, you should get the top spec Apple device.
5. Better Safari’s intelligent tracking prevention
Marketers are interested in your browsing patterns and use trackers to follow you around the web.
With the intelligent tracking prevention, your IP address is inaccessible to web servers, so you get better privacy.
6. App privacy report
As you are aware, some apps can access your contacts, microphone, camera or even your location.
In most cases, it’s difficult to keep track of the level of access that each app has on your device, but with App privacy report, you get all the data.
You get a regular report of what apps have accessed the above aspects of your device, even if they do so in the background.
Now that’s one reason to upgrade to an iOS, amongst other reasons.
7. iCloud Private Relay
This feature allows you to browse that web anonymously and is covered in detail here.
It is a proxy which works to encrypt your traffic when you surf the internet.
8. Homekit Secure Video
Traffic from any video feeds from home security cameras and baby monitors is encrypted. This prevents hackers from tapping into your feed.
9. Hide my Email
Although this feature is not available with the first roll-out of iOS 15, it’s an incredible boost of privacy to protect your main email address.
A randomly generated email address forwards emails to your actual email. That way, you protect you email from spam and phishing attacks.
It’s not a new feature as services like Mailgun are already offering this service. However, Hide my Email is steps ahead because no third parties are involved so there is better privacy.
For more information on email security, read this article where I covered even more ways to secure your email.
10. Contacts for Account recovery and Digital Legacy
With this feature, you can add a trusted contact so that when you lose your Apple ID, recovery of your account takes place via that contact.
In addition, the access continues when you are incapacitated or in the event of your demise.
Digital Legacy is scheduled for a later date.
Apple has definitely strengthened privacy in its ecosystem but there is still a lot of work to be done.
A spyware flaw that was quickly patched by iOS 14.8 raised concerns and this shows hackers can use advanced tactics to evade detection.
You can extend you security and privacy by using a VPN when you are online because it is better than a proxy.
Traffic from all your apps passes through the VPN as opposed to a proxy which only encrypts browser traffic.
What do you think about the new security features in iOS 15? Leave comments below and share the article with your friends on social media. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter so that you get latest updates in your inbox.