Apple will be making a handful of changes in its upcoming mobile operating system, iOS 6, to protect the data of iPhone users from third-party apps. This will give users much more control of which applications can access their personal info.
As reported a few months ago, some iOS applications in the iTunes store were giving out personal information from users to the software’s developers without permission. Apps did not need the user’s consent to access any form of content on the user’s device.
Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr pointed out at the time that apps that did transmit information without permission were in violation of Apple’s guidelines, but people looking closely at some apps showed that enforcement of this rule was apparently weak. The spokesperson also stated that Apple had started making changes to iOS to better protect users.
iOS 6 will feature the changes that Neumayer promised. The release notes for this upcoming operating system describe all of its privacy changes:
- In iOS 6, the system now protects Calendars, Reminders, Contacts, and Photos as part of Apple’s data isolation privacy initiative.
- Users will see access dialogs when an app tries to access any of those data types. The user can switch access on and off in Settings > Privacy.
- There are APIs available to allow developers to set a “purpose” string that is displayed to users to help them understand why their data is being requested.
- There are changes to the EventKit and Address Book frameworks to help developers with this feature.
Apple is scheduled to introduce iOS this fall. It will be a free upgrade for many current smartphones and tablets from this company, and will include a wide-range of enhancements.