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Apple
Soon, iOS apps must reveal exactly what they're doing with your data.
Photo: Penn State/Flickr CC

Keep your real phone number hidden with a second, ‘burner’ line

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Hushed
Get a second phone number that you can use for Craigslist deals, dates, work calls, and other times when you'd rather keep your real number private.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

The internet changed a lot about how we communicate. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the sensitivity of giving out your personal phone number to randos.

Craigslist, Tinder dates — heck, even work associates — there are lots of people you might not want to be able to reach you on a whim. This inexpensive private phone line offers an invaluable buffer between you and the unknown.

Antitrust complaint claims Apple’s crackdown on user tracking is unfair

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privacy WWDC
Apple is all about privacy.
Photo: Apple

A French antitrust complaint against Apple targets an iOS 14 feature that makes it tougher for companies to indiscriminately use tracking technology for mobile advertising.

The anti-tracking feature previously faced criticism, unsurprisingly, from companies that work in mobile advertising. However, this is the one of the first legal actions taken against Apple due to the feature.

What those strange new green and orange dots on iPhone and iPad mean

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What green and orange dots mean on iPhone and iPad with iOS 14
They're there for a reason and you should look out for them.
Image: Cult of Mac

If you’ve already updated to iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, you might be wondering why green or orange dots sometimes appear in the corner of your screen on iPhone and iPad. It’s not the result of a strange bug.

Instead, those dots are there to help protect your privacy. When they appear, it means certain features on your device are in use, and it’s important to look out for them. Here’s why.

Apple delays controversial privacy change in iOS 14

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iOS 14 will do a bit less to protect your privacy
iOS 14 would have let iPhone users opt out of being tracked by the applications they use.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple pushed back the release of a major privacy change previously coming in iOS 14. It would have required each iPhone application to specifically ask if it can track the user for advertising purposes.

Most people are expected to deny access, which would shake up the advertising business.

Funny Apple video touts iPhone privacy advantages

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Apple and privacy go hand in hand.
A new video features people oversharing their personal info. Apple says iPhones help users prevent the digital version of this.
Screenshot: Apple

People don’t walk around announcing their recent purchases to strangers. Or yell out to the whole office what they think of their coworkers. Or reveal where they live to people on the street. But they do violate their own privacy in a new Apple video, created to point out that owning a rival smartphone is the digital equivalent of oversharing.

Watch it now:

How to make Safari Private Browsing much more private

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How to make Safari Private Browsing much more private
Safari Private Browsing is less private than you think. Here’s how to change that.
Photo: Killian Bell/Ed Hardy

Push a button in Safari and you’re in Private Browsing Mode. Suddenly, you’re completely safe from all tracking, and no one can tell what you did online, right? Wrong.

This mode really can help protect your privacy when you’re surfing the web, but you need to know its limitations.

Facebook worries about what iOS 14’s user-tracking alerts will mean for digital ads

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Facebook owns 4 of the top 10 apps of the past decade
iOS 14 could be bad news for companies that rely on digital ads.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Facebook is concerned that one of the big new features in iOS 14 will hurt the social networking giant’s ad-targeting business model.

As reported by CNBC, Facebook CFO David Wehner said Thursday that Apple’s new feature for the upcoming operating system, which allows users to see how activity is being tracked across apps and websites, will make things tough on Facebook ads.

How to lock down Facebook Messenger with Face ID or Touch ID

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Add Face ID or Touch ID to Facebook Messenger for maximum security.
Take this simple precaution to keep your chats private.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Facebook Messenger’s new App Lock feature lets you add an extra layer of security to the popular chat app. iPhone and iPad users can switch on Face ID or Touch ID so they never need to worry about anybody seeing their messages.

The previously rumored feature, which Facebook rolled out for iOS devices Wednesday, is easy to enable. Plus, you can tweak a setting to make sure App Lock works ideally for you. Here’s all you need to do to turn on Face ID or Touch ID for Facebook Messenger.

Digital ad agencies aren’t happy about Apple’s new user-tracking notifications

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privacy WWDC
Privacy was a big theme at WWDC.
Photo: Apple

A group of digital advertising associations in Europe have taken issue with Apple’s plan to offer users notifications on which apps track them to offer personalized ads.

At WWDC 2020, Apple announced new tools for iOS and iPadOS that let users better control which apps track them by asking for permission in the form of pop-up messages. The next versions of the iPhone and iPad operating systems will reveal to users what type of data different apps collect. But the digital advertising companies say that this could carry a “high risk of user refusal.”