Apple shows off new features that restrict how iPhone apps collect your data.
Apple took a major swipe at the data-collection practices of other companies, including rivals Apple and Facebook, with several new privacy features for its devices.
For years, smartphone apps have been notorious for collecting people’s location and using that data to better target them with ads, or worse. On Monday, Apple said that on the newest version of its operating system, iOS 13, users will be able to share their location with an app once. Each time the app wants to access the user’s location again, it will have to ask again.
The new iPhone software will also be more transparent when apps are tracking their location in the background, and it will block apps from using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections to figure out a user’s location.
Apple also unveiled a new way for people to sign into third-party apps and services using an Apple ID, a feature called “Sign in with Apple.”
Google and Facebook have leveraged their ubiquity for years by enabling people to sign into other apps and websites with their Google or Facebook accounts. But doing so sometimes meant the companies — Google, Facebook and the third parties — could collect more data about you.
On iPhones and other Apple devices, people can now sign in with a more private Apple ID. With the feature, Apple said that in some cases third-party apps will only receive the user’s name and email address. But if users choose, the feature also allows them to conceal their email addresses by generating a random address that forwards the messages.
New map features try to match Google’s.
Apple said it invested a significant amount — flying and driving all around the United States — to improve its Maps app. The maps will now include an option to view photo previews of the street, similar to Google’s Street View project.
Apple’s maps effort has been a long game of catch up to Google. In 2012, when Apple updated its maps app, replacing Google’s mapping data with its own, the release sparked consumer outrage. Its mapping data was sparse, getting many people lost. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, eventually issued an apology for the hiccup, and a former executive overseeing Apple software resigned in the fallout.
The Watch is getting its own App Store.
Apple introduced a new version of WatchOS, the software system powering its Apple Watch. Kevin Lynch, the Apple executive who oversees the watch software, said more Apple apps were coming to the watch, like audiobooks, voice memos and a calculator. In addition, the watch includes its own App Store, and third-party apps can now run independently. They no longer require a companion app loaded on an iPhone.
This move is a big step toward making the Apple Watch independent from the iPhone. What that means for consumers is that at some point in the future, they may be able to buy an Apple Watch without having to purchase an iPhone. In other words, Android smartphone users may one day be able to use an Apple Watch.
Apple continues its focus on health, with apps to track menstrual cycles and noise pollution.
Mr. Cook has said “Apple’s largest contribution to mankind” will be improving people’s health. Given the iPhone’s enormous impact on society, that’s quite a claim. On Monday, Apple announced several more health initiatives:
A new feature that helps women track their menstrual cycles, similar to services now offered by third-party apps. Apple’s feature, called Cycle Tracking, allows women to log key aspects of their menstrual cycles and returns predictions on the timing of their periods and fertility windows.
An app for the Watch called Noise, which notifies people when they are in a noisy environment that could be harmful to their hearing.
A feature on the Watch that will show the user’s activity over the past 90 days compared with the past year, highlighting whether they are trending up or down. The new iPhone software will have similar health-tracking features.
iMessage gets new emoji — with some missing teeth.
iMessage, Apple’s messaging app, includes the ability to create your own emoji using the iPhone’s infrared camera system.
Now an update to the messaging app will let people modify emojis more to include piercings, earrings and even missing teeth. This is a minor update, but iMessage has been an important product keeping Apple customers loyal to the iPhone.
Apple continues to try to make the iPad your work computer.
Apple has wanted to make the iPad the laptop killer for years. While the hardware is svelte and lightweight, the software hasn’t been robust enough to make the iPad the primary work computer for many people. On Monday, Apple announced maybe its biggest effort yet to change that: a new operating system specifically for iPads, called iPadOS.
Craig Federighi, Apple’s software chief, showed off how the new software made iPads work much more like a desktop computer. The software enables users to more easily switch between apps, use two apps at once, manage downloads, browse the web, and search and share files. In a clear sign of the new target audience of corporate workers, Mr. Federighi showed how he could now work in two Microsoft Word documents at once. “That’s enterprising right there,” he said.
One of the biggest applause lines was when he announced users could now plug in external hard drives.