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Is it possible to keep data hidden from Apple on iPhones? ‘Virtually impossible’, experts warn

Is it possible to keep data hidden from Apple on iPhones? ‘Virtually impossible’, experts warn


Can you keep your data hidden from Apple? Experts said not at all in a new study that showed that the default apps on an iPhone, iPad and MacBook collect your personal data even if they appear to be disabled. The study looked into the privacy settings of Apple’s default apps- Safari, Siri, Family Sharing, iMessage, FaceTime, Location Services, Find My and Touch ID. 

The iPhone 15 Pro is shown after its introduction on the Apple campus.(AP)

Head of computer science department at Aalto University, Finland, Associate Professor Janne Lindqvist said, ‘We focused on apps that are an integral part of the platform and ecosystem. These apps are glued to the platform, and getting rid of them is virtually impossible. Due to the way the user interface is designed, users don’t know what is going on. For example, the user is given the option to enable or not enable Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant. But enabling only refers to whether you use Siri’s voice control.”

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The professor added, “Siri collects data in the background from other apps you use, regardless of your choice, unless you understand how to go into the settings and specifically change that.”

Protecting your privacy on an Apple device would require expert knowledge and persistence, the study said. Amel Bourdoucen, a doctoral researcher at Aalto, said, “The online instructions for restricting data access are very complex and confusing, and the steps required are scattered in different places. There’s no clear direction on whether to go to the app settings, the central settings – or even both. It turned out that the participants weren’t able to prevent any of the apps from sharing their data with other applications or the service provider.”

The researchers said that they can’t be certain what Apple does with the data collected.



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