The average smartphone app harbors 6 different trackers

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Privacy
Privacy has been a big deal for Apple for years.
Photo: Apple

Ahead of the launch of the new App Tracking Transparency iOS 14 feature, Apple on Wednesday published a report titled A Day in the Life of Your Data.

It details the “$227 billion-a-year industry” made up of websites, apps, social media companies, data brokers, and more who harvest user personal data for profit — and what Apple is doing about it.

Vast majority of iPhone users now run iOS 14

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iOS 14 adoption. It’s a good thing.
Nine out of 10 users now using iOS 14.
Photo: Apple

iOS 14 adoption tops 90%, according to figures published by analysts at Mixpanel. The firm’s most recent data shows 90.45% of users with an iPhone or iPad run either iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 on it. That’s an incredibly impressive feat, considering Apple only made the operating systems available in mid-September.

Last time Apple released its own figures, back in late February, the company reported that 80% of iPhones and 70% of iPads ran the new operating systems. Those figures increased to 86% and 84% respectively when focusing on devices from the past four years.

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App Tracking Transparency will be part of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5 and tvOS 14.5. It’s already showing up in betas.
Developers need to get their software ready for App Tracking Transparency. iPhone and iPad will soon prevent apps from tracking users without permission.
Graphic: Apple

Siri gets new voices, and won’t default to female, in iOS 14.5

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Apple’s AI-driven voice-controlled digital assistant Siri
Siri just became more gender fluid.
Image: Apple

After almost a decade of using a female voice by default, Siri users will be given a choice of voices for the virtual assistant when they set up Apple devices. The virtual assistant will also come with two new English-language voices.

These changes debuted in iOS 14.5 beta 6 and the iPads equivalent, which Apple seeded to developers Wednesday.

Apple finally stops assuming ‘Asian’ is synonymous with porn

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Apple finally stops assuming 'Asian' is synonymous with porn
Poorly written iPhone software treated ‘Asian’ as though it was always porn. It’s being fixed.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

For much too long, the iPhone’s built-in pornographic content blocker prevented searches just because included the word “Asian.” Apple reportedly fixed the issue in the latest beta of iOS 14.5. But the problem is still in place for everyone not running the pre-release software.

Fix dangerous Safari bug with these updates for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch

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iOS 14.4.2 iPadOS 14.4.2 and watchOS 7.3.3 are all avaiulable now.
iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch users should install new system software updates immediately.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

Apple has a fix for a serious bug in the mobile version of its Safari web browser. Hackers have reportedly already used it, which makes a high-priority of installing iOS 14.4.2, iPadOS 14.4.2 and watchOS 7.3.3. All three hit Apple servers Friday morning.

Why Apple Watch’s iPhone unlock will change your freakin’ face-mask life

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Why Apple Watch’s iPhone unlock will change your freakin’ life
Being able to to unlock your iPhone while wearing a face mask is the best reason yet to get an Apple Watch.
Photo: Ivan Samkov/Pexels CC

iOS 14.5 will be the best update of the pandemic era because it works with your Apple Watch to remove the hassle of unlocking your iPhone while wearing a face mask. You don’t have to type in your passcode every single damn time. The phone just unlocks. Like it’s supposed to.

But the trick does require an Apple Watch. If you’ve been on the bubble about getting one, this feature should go a long way toward convincing you. It serves as yet another elegant example of how Apple’s ecosystem offers users simple solutions to modern life’s annoyances.

iOS might split security updates from feature upgrades

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iOS 14.5 beta 4 splits security updates from regular updates
It seems Apple plans to release stand-alone iOS/iPadOS security updates.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple is apparently preparing to release iPhone security updates separately from iOS updates with feature changes. The just-released fourth beta of iOS 14.5 gives users a new, separate toggle to choose whether to automatically install security updates.

However, at this point this feature doesn’t work quite as many might expect.

How to stop Apple from targeting you with personalized ads

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Ads everywhere
Apple targets users with personalized ads, too.
Photo: Jo San Diego/Unsplash CC

A French lobbyist group is accusing Apple of hypocrisy over new privacy measures in iOS 14, which make it harder for other companies to track users. Why? Because Apple also operates a feature called Personalized Advertising, which capitalizes on user data to display targeted ads within apps.

Want to stop Apple from targeting you with personalized ads? Here’s how you do it. (And everything else you need to know about the new complaint.)