iOS 15.5 has a ton of privacy features that people don’t know enough about

Many people want a better grip on privacy and data security, and with iOS 15, Apple has taken several significant steps to strengthen privacy for the iPhone. iOS 15 arrived in September, and Apple has rolled out a handful of updates since then. The latest version is iOS 15.5. (Here you are how to check if your iPhone can run iOS 15 And how to download it.)

Within a few weeks, Apple owns the WWDCits annual software developer conference, where iOS 16 is expected to be revealed. The iOS 15 sequel will likely be in beta until the fall, which means now is the time to tweak and adjust privacy settings in iOS 15.5.

After downloading the latest version of the operating system, you will have access to the new one from Apple FaceTime functionality which, for the first time, leaves Android and PC users participate. You will get it too Improvements to iMessage which make it easier to keep track of the links and photos your friends have posted. And there’s access to many new privacy and security features. If you are one of the more than billions of people who use an iPhone, it is worth knowing about the privacy updates available in iOS 15.5 and changing the settings immediately.

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Simply put, the privacy changes in iOS 15.5 give you better control over the data you share with third parties and reveal how apps use the data from your iPhone. In some cases, these privacy tools can limit the collection of your personal data. While these privacy updates don’t dramatically change your daily experience with your iPhone, except perhaps in the case of Siri, they do alter the way your Apple device interacts with the Internet and third parties in search of your personal information.

Keep in mind that Apple has long used privacy as a strength to distinguish itself from rivals like Google and Facebook. Although the Cupertino, California-based company has insisted on protecting consumer data from digital advertisers and internet service providers, it has also reportedly strengthened its search ad business and hired (and then fired) a former Facebook advertising executive.

Read more: This iPhone setting can prevent ads from following you on the web

There’s also a catch: Most of the new privacy features are available for free, but not all. To take advantage of some features, you will need to own a newer iPhone or accumulate money buy a new current iPhone.

These privacy changes have digital advertisers and even journalists behind popular newsletters in arms, but they’re good for you, regardless of what Apple’s motives might be.

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Does Siri share my voice data on the cloud in iOS 15?

With iOS 15.5, one of the biggest privacy concerns for voice assistants will be eliminated, according to Apple. Unlike Amazon Alexa and virtually all other competitors, Siri will no longer send audio to servers for processing. Instead it will process the sound of your voice directly on your iPhone, thanks to the voice recognition on the device.

Apple said iPhones and iPads will take advantage of the processing power on Apple devices to analyze speech, meaning Siri will no longer need an active internet connection to function.

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For you that means Siri will respond to basic commands like setting an alarm, setting a reminder, or launching an offline app. This update does not include requiring Siri to search for something on the web.

In addition to increased privacy, Apple says Siri’s response time is faster for some requests, as audio processing can now take place offline.

There is a problem. Only iPhones and iPads with an A12 Bionic chip or newer can take advantage of the audio processing in Siri’s device.

How do I know which apps are accessing my data and phone sensors?

If you were a fan of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature, you’ll probably love the App Privacy Report as well. Taking a page from Safari’s playbook, the report is a new section accessible in Settings that gives you an overview of how apps manage your privacy. You can see when individual apps require access to the camera or microphone, and also see where or with whom your data may be shared over the past seven days. All of this brings an extra layer of transparency into iOS 15.5.

A speaker at the WWDC 2021 keynote presenting the app privacy report

Apple first gave us a peek at the iPhone’s App Privacy Report during WWDC 2021.


What is mail privacy protection and how does it stop tracking?

Apple’s mail privacy protection feature is built into the default Mail app on your iPhone. Limit the amount of data that senders collect when you open their promotional emails or even newsletters. Specifically, the feature gives you the ability to hide your IP address, so it can’t be linked to other online activities or used to determine your location. This feature prevents spam email marketers from learning more about your email or Internet activity.

Read more: Here are 2 simple steps to double check your iPhone’s privacy settings

Here’s how Apple described it:

In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection prevents senders from using invisible pixels to collect user information. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.

Apple also claimed that Safari obfuscates your IP address.

Is iCloud Plus Private Relay similar to a VPN?

Paid iCloud Plus subscribers get a couple of new privacy features. One of these is Safari’s private forwarding tool, which hides web browsing behavior from advertisers and internet service providers. It does this by encrypting outbound traffic from your iPhone, so it can’t be intercepted by third parties or Apple, preventing them from reading what you’re looking for.

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The second function is called Hide my email. If you are an iCloud Plus subscriber, your iPhone can generate a random email address for when you sign up for subscriptions or retail accounts. Hide my email forwards everything sent to the “fake address” to your actual email address. Essentially, Hide My Email recycles your messages from a reseller so they don’t know your actual email address. The idea is that fewer companies will have access to people’s direct email addresses.

Now that you have your iPhone privacy in order, Read Beyond the Basic iPhone: Change iOS 15 Settings Like a Power User.

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