Apple is now monitoring what you search for on iOS devices

Advocates and civil liberties have recently been praising Apple a great deal. This is because the new iOS feature of Apply prevents companies from getting a hold on data from their device using a four digit password even when a warrant may be presented. However the privacy and security of the company stops here because Apple does monitor the searches that are conducted.

A product announcement event was held by Apple in which the company revealed their newest operating system for iOS 8.1 and Mac which is the Yosemite OS X. desktops and devices both contain an internal spotlight search through which users have the ability of searching for saved applications and files for example. But the Spotlight function in the new operating system also allows Apple to collect the location of users as well as the keystrokes entered for their internal searches.

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A pop window discloses that the company is collecting any data which may be relevant to your searches so that search results may provide what is most relevant for you which is quite similar to what search engines such as Google do as well. Apple however claims to have privacy at heart unlike its competition.

In a statement given by Apple to Wired, the company stated that they are committed to protecting the privacy of their users and that all their products have privacy as part of their products. For Spotlight suggestions, the amount of information sent to Apple is minimized. Apple also does not retain the IP address from the device of the users. Spotlight blurs out the location of the device which is why the exact location is never reached to Apple. The operating system also does not make use of a persistent identifier which is why the search history of any user can not be recreated by Apple or by anyone else. Devices by Apple make use of a temporary anonymous session ID which lasts for a period of 15 minutes after which the ID is discarded.

By switching the ID every 15 minutes, the company states that they are not creating profiles of users in order to deliver targeted ads rather the data collection is meant to simply improve the quality of the search undertaken. However this is not where the snooping finishes.

Along with search content and location, the new operating system can also download websites about those topics which are related to the search inquiries made by the user. This could also lead to sensitive information and users search activities to be revealed.

This is particularly a cause of worry since the data collected by Apple is shared with Bing which is a search engine owned by Microsoft. Apple however insists that Bing is under contract and is prohibited to make use of the information to create user profiles for the purpose of targeted advertising.

Since this has been discovered, instructions have begun to appear online for how this kind of search snooping can be turned off from one’s devices. Apple too made an announcement that users could opt out if they did not wish their data to be collected.

Considering these facts, one would never assume that their phones and desktops would be vulnerable to such things. Such things rarely cross any individuals mind as they expect their privacy and security to be protected, especially by companies such as Apple which are this well known. It comes as a surprise to many when they find out that their searches are being monitored. While the company does claim to be making moves to simply protect the privacy of their users, it does not feel like that to the person actually making use of the devices and whose information is being gathered by the company. Irrespective of the claims being made by Apple that the information is kept safe and that such actions are taken to simply improve the experience of the users, it does not provide any calming effect for the user themselves. Privacy and security is the right of every individual and having it violated in this manner can raise questions. It is however a good step taken by Apple to suggest that the option search snooping can be switched off which can give users a calming effect.


Nicki is a Tech and Geek writer and has earned her a bulk of readers who are needing for the most recent news and audit about latest tech updates. Her work turns around the most recent in iPhone monitoring software like Theonespy.

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