If Apple’s going to compete in this industry, it’s going to have to start collecting more data from its users. It’s a hard truth for both the company and its users to accept, but Apple revealed at WWDC 2016 last week that iOS 10 will collect more information from devices than ever in order to improve Siri and other services.
Apple didn’t share many details beyond that, but on Friday, Recode helped clarify exactly what Apple will be collecting (and whether or not you actually have to let Apple collect it from your personal devices).
According to Recode, Apple is introducing differential privacy — data which the company can sort through without putting anyone’s personal privacy at risk — in iOS 10. It hasn’t been collecting any of this information up to this point.
Furthermore, Apple won’t collect the information automatically. Rather, users will have to opt-in to give Apple permission to collect the data.
“As for what data is being collected,” Recode explains, “Apple says that differential privacy will initially be limited to four specific use cases: New words that users add to their local dictionaries, emojis typed by the user (so that Apple can suggest emoji replacements), deep links used inside apps (provided they are marked for public indexing) and lookup hints within notes.”
Although Apple is clearly attempting to walk a very fine line by making this an opt-in service rather than an opt-out one, it looks like the company is hamstrung by its messaging. Damned it they do, damned if they don’t.