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.

Gmail for iOS can now prevent remote image tracking

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Gmail iOS iPhone X
Get the latest update today.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

The official Gmail app on iOS can now prevent tracking via external images.

A new update to the app brings the ability to disable automatic image loading. This makes it harder for message senders to establish whether you actually opened an email.

All your private data is being sold. Here’s how to opt out.

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simple opt out
If you don't worry about your data being sold, here's a nice spot of sand where you can bury your head.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you know that Home Depot shares your “name, address and transactional information … with third party companies”? Or that Marriott Hotels discloses “Personal Data and Other Data with select Strategic Business Partners”?

What about this snippet from The New York Times’ privacy policy: “If you are a U.S. print subscriber, we may exchange or rent your name and postal mailing address.”

The bad news is, pretty much anytime you share your data with a U.S. company, it will sell that data to somebody else. The good news is that you can opt out. And the even better news is that there’s one place to get all the information you need to do it.

References to Apple ‘tag’ item trackers spotted in iOS 13

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bluetooth tracker
Apple wants to take on Tile.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

References in iOS 13 all but corroborate earlier reports that Apple is working on its own item-tracking accessories.

It is thought Apple plans to compete with Tile by offering “tags” that can be attached to bags, keys, and other valuables. You will then be able to track them using the new Find My app coming this fall.

Mozilla petitions Apple to boost privacy with rotating ad IDs

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ipad-pro-smart-keyboard-safari
Rotating advertiser IDs make a lot of sense.
Photo: Apple

Mozilla, the company behind Firefox, is calling for Apple to boost user privacy on iOS by introducing rotating advertiser IDs.

Most iPhone and iPad users don’t know that they can block access to their unique ID, Mozilla says. Regularly rotating IDs would make it harder for companies “to build profiles of us over time.”

Sign the petition to pressure Apple into making a change today.

How to search your Google search history

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Google is watching, all the time. Turn it to your advantage.
Google is watching, all the time. Turn it to your advantage.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

How many time have you tried to remember that site where you read that thing last week? A million, probably. And how many times have you found it? Less than a million, for sure. But did you know that you can use Google to search only sites that you have visited?

You can, and it’s awesome.

Replaceable batteries make Tile the tracker you’ve been waiting for [Review]

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Tile will speak out against Apple in Congress antitrust hearing
A 2018 Tile Pro can be used for years now that the battery can be swapped out.
Photo: Tile

For much too long, the best key finder had a significant flaw. A Tile Pro or Tile Mate helps you keep track of your keys, the remote, or other items, but each only lasts a year. Then you have to buy another one because the battery can’t be replaced. That finally changes in the new 2018 version. Plus they have a greater range.

We tested the latest versions of the regular and Pro versions of the Tile tracker to see if they live up to their promises. 

Google tracks you even if you tell it not to

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A group called Google You Owe Us wants $1000 each after Google invaded their privacy
Google is still tracking users' locations without their permission.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Google’s claim that it allows users to completely turn off all location tracking is completely false, according to research conducted by the Associated Press.

Whether you’re using an iPhone or Android device, the AP found that many Google services store your location data, even if you’ve used a privacy setting that is supposed to prevent Google from grabbing your data.