originally published on 12/18/21
Apple’s App Privacy Report is here
Apps have been accused of quietly snooping on their users for some time. They collect data and reshare it with advertisers and other third parties, often without users’ truly informed consent. Now the tables are turned in a sense, as users will finally be able to snoop on their apps, thanks to Apple’s new App Privacy Report feature, now available in iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2. This app transparency feature lets an iOS user see what their apps are actually doing — including which apps are accessing the data and the sensors on your phone, as well as where that data is being shared. The latter is revealed through the feature’s ability to report with which third-party websites an app is communicating. Some of those may be for analytics purposes, but others may be adtech sites.
To use the feature, you’ll head to Settings > Privacy > App Privacy Report then switch it on. Over time, you’ll be able to see how apps accessed your data over the past seven days, complete with timestamps for its every action. While Apple should be applauded for making this information more transparent, there’s some concern that the report will leave users feeling less empowered, rather than more empowered. Sure, a favorite app may be contacting some odd-sounding domain, but what data exactly was shared? Would the user be okay with that data sharing if it were explained? If they’re not okay with it, what are they supposed to do to stop it, other than just uninstalling the app?
Apple seems to be betting on the fact that simply making this information public could push the app industry toward better behavior that’s more respectful of user privacy. But just like most users never read those long user agreements when installing software in the first place, it’s not clear to what extent this new feature will be adopted by mainstream users.
Google details Android 12 Go edition
Google this week offered more details about the new features and updates that will be available when the first devices running Android 12 (Go Edition) are launched in 2022. Designed for low-end smartphones, apps on Go Edition will launch up to 30% faster and with smoother animation, Google says — that means they’ll open instantly, instead of presenting users with a blank screen. The new SplashScreen API will help Android developers provide this consistently smooth experience when their users launch their apps.
The updated OS will also automatically save battery life and storage by hibernating apps that haven’t been used for extended periods of time. The Files Go app, meanwhile, allows users to recover files within 30 days so users can safely delete files when they need to free up space.
Other new features include…
READ THE REST ON TECHCRUNCH