Why everyone’s upset about AirPods Pro, and Tim Cook’s favorite shower tech, this week on The CultCast

By

CulCast 424
Finally, you too can shower like Tim Cook. We'll tell you how.
Photo: YSR50

This week on The CultCast: It’s not your imagination — Apple changed AirPods Pro and made them worse! We’ll tell you what’s going on. Plus: A new report says Apple caved to FBI pressure to keep your iCloud backups less safe. And stay tuned to hear about about Tim Cook’s favorite new … shower tech? Rub-a-dub-dub, my friends.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. Easily create a beautiful website all by yourself, at Squarespace.com/cultcast, and use offer code CultCast at checkout for 10% off your first purchase.

Facebook Messenger could protect your messages with Face ID

By

Face ID
An extra layer of protection for your messages.
Photo: Apple

Facebook Messenger could soon add Face ID support to protect your conversations from nosy neighbors.

The feature would prevent access to Messenger until it is first unlocked with your face. It seems like a useful addition to the app for the security-conscious, but it’s still in development for now.

How to block privacy-invading read receipts in email

By

email read receipts
An untracked, artisanal email.
Photo: Erica Steeves/Unsplash

Did you know that your boss might be tracking when you open and read her emails? Or that anyone who operates a mailing list can see when you open their emails, thanks to read receipts?

But did you also know that it’s trivially easy to block read receipts? You can make your overreaching boss think that you never read her emails, or at least make her a bit more paranoid. Email tracking uses something called tracking pixels. Let’s see how to block them, and disable email read receipts on Mac and iOS.

iOS beta adds off switch for iPhone 11 Location Services

By

iPhone 11 Max Pro cameras
The next iOS update will have an additional off switch for Location Services after recently data privacy concerns.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple is testing an iOS fix for Location Services that will potentially allay any privacy concerns among iPhone 11 users.

Apple makes privacy part of its brand yet found itself answering questions when a security news site in December discovered the iPhone 11 Pro continued to track user location even after all Location Services toggles were switched off.

Latest AI acquisition shows Apple isn’t sacrificing privacy for machine smarts

By

Latest AI acquisition shows Apple isn’t sacrificing privacy for machine smarts
Apple is embracing machine intelligence, without losing sight of the human factor.
Photo: Universal

When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), Apple wants to have its cake and eat it, too. That is to say that it wants cutting edge data-driven machine learning on its devices, without violating its own user privacy pledge.

And you know what? It’s managing to pull it off — as the company’s latest AI startup acquisition underlines.

Apple scans photos uploaded to iCloud to check if they contain child abuse

By

Apple ditched plans for secure iCloud backups after FBI concern
Apple's chief privacy officer discussed the tech in a CES panel.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

CES-2020-bug-2

Apple’s chief privacy officer says that Apple scans photos uploaded to iCloud to check whether they contain child abuse. Jane Horvath discussed the use of the technology during a Tuesday panel on user privacy at CES.

Horvath didn’t reveal exactly how Apple carries this out. Many companies — including Facebook, Twitter and Google — already use a Microsoft-developed tool called PhotoDNA. This checks images against a database of previously identified pictures.

Apple exec takes the stage at CES to talk about the importance of privacy

By

Apple exec turned up at CES to talk about the importance of privacy
Apple is big into privacy.
Photo: Apple

CES-2020-bug-2Apple has made its return to CES for the first time in 28 years, as a representative of the world’s biggest tech company appeared on-stage at the world’s biggest tech conference.

Apple wasn’t showing off new products, however. Instead, Jane Horvath, Apple’s senior director of global privacy, participated in a panel Tuesday titled “Chief Privacy Officer Roundtable: What Do Consumers Want?” The panel also included representatives from Facebook, Procter & Gamble, and the FTC.

US senators threaten Apple with encryption regulations

By

Apple takes privacy seriously
Apple isn't budging on its privacy stance.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

U.S. Senators grilled Apple and Facebook execs over encryption practices today, threatening to regulate the technology if the companies don’t take action on their own.

Republicans and Democrats appeared unified in their disdain for end-to-end encryption. The technology, which Apple uses for iCloud and other services, sometimes thwarts law enforcement officials’ investigations into child abuse and mass shootings. Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the harshest critics, demanded that the companies add backdoors to their encryption keys.

Apple to make CES comeback in 2020

By

Applebillboard
Apple's billboard outside the CES 2019 venue.
Photo: Chris Velazco/Twitter

Apple is finally making a comeback to the biggest tech trade show in the world after being a no show at the event for nearly three decades.

CES posted its speaker agenda this morning which revealed Apple will have an official presence at the event. The company won’t have a product booth and isn’t expected to announce anything major at the event this coming January. Instead, Apple will be there to discuss one of its favorite topics: privacy.

Apple is hugely successful blocking advertisers from tracking you

By

Apple: Keep Out, privacy
Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention protects your privacy by keeping advertisers for following you around the web.
Photo: Apple

Apple skillfully protects user privacy by preventing advertisers from tracking everyone. Companies buying ads are less interested in anyone using Apple’s Safari browser because advertising agencies can’t use cookies to build profiles on those users.