Fixes for 42 vulnerabilities are also included, so it’s a good idea to update your iPhone and iPad now.
Apple released iOS 15.2 for iPhone and iPad this week, and with it came the full release of a feature that I know I’ve been excitedly waiting for for some time: the App Privacy Report. Along with app privacy data already displayed in the App Store, iOS 15.2 offers iPhone and iPad users a new way to see if the apps they use are as trustworthy as they think they are.
That’s not the only new feature added in iOS 15.2, which included several new usability updates for existing features, as well as the expansion of other privacy programs like Hide My Email. Additionally, Apple said there are 42 different bug fixes included in the update, many of which are critical defects that open the kernel to arbitrary code execution.
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If the new privacy features aren’t enough to make you want to activate the old iOS software update page, consider those security bugs found on your pre-15.2 iPhone or iPad as a quick kick telling you to do so. anyway.
New features in iOS 15.2
Before we get to the App Privacy Report, how to use it and what you can learn from it, it is worth mentioning some of the other features that have been added or expanded in iOS 15.2, starting with Hide My Email, which has received a new one. Simple, but obviously necessary feature – accessible from within the iOS Mail app.
Hide My Email was added to iOS along with iCloud +, and it’s a nifty feature that creates an anonymous email address whenever an iOS user wants to set up a new account without handing over their valuable personal email address to people who they can resell it.
While previous versions of iOS limited Hide My Email to sites that allowed you to sign in with an AppleID on the web, this new feature allows email users to simply tap the From field when composing an email and select Hide My Email email from the drop-down menu.
Another feature worth noting is Legacy Contact, which allows iOS users to designate a trusted person to give access to their account in the event of the user’s death. You can enroll a person by opening Settings and then tapping their Apple ID at the top of the screen. From there, tap on Password & Security and then look for Legacy Contact, where you can add one or more people.
Once added, a passcode is generated that the legacy contact will need, along with a death certificate, to transfer ownership of the account. It is a good idea for people who have sensitive data behind their Apple IDs that could disappear in the event of an accident. That applies to accounts for personal and private use.
How to use the App Privacy Report
The App Privacy Report keeps an up-to-date count of all network connections your device and apps make, all data access apps and sensors, most contacted domains, and more. Plus, you can drill down into each of those categories for even more detail, making the App’s Privacy Report a one-stop-shop for finding out if something on your phone is sending or receiving data that you don’t want. .
You can find the App Privacy Report in the Settings app. With Settings open, scroll down to Privacy and then go to the bottom of the next screen where you will find the App Privacy Report. Tap on that.
One note: you might see a blank report if you didn’t previously enable the app’s privacy data log, which was done in the same place in the Settings app from previous versions of iOS 15. If you want to see data like the shown below, you will need to enable logging and wait for iOS to generate its reports, which from then on are a look back at the last seven days.
If you already have data collected, you can navigate through various screens to find out what hardware items applications access and when, all domains and an application contacts and all applications that contact a specific domain, and more, as seen in the screenshot below.
There is a lot of information to analyze in the App’s Privacy Report, which raises the inevitable privacy question: what happens to all this data? Is Apple using them for privacy violation purposes? According to the description of the report that Apple offers on the iPhone, no.
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“The information displayed in the App Privacy Report is stored locally on your device. If you disable the App Privacy Report, this information will be removed from your device. If you uninstall an app, the information reported for that app it will be eliminated”. says the description on iOS.
Fortunately, the information recorded by the App Privacy Report is not particularly confidential, and if you are concerned about the data you record, you can turn off the App Privacy Report on the same screen that you land on when you click on it from the Privacy screen of the Settings app.