Apple has unveiled a new login service, which will restrict advertiser’s access to consumer data.
When the iOS 13 upgrade is introduced, users will be able to quickly access apps and websites using the Sign-in with Apple feature.
The new privacy-enhancing element was unveiled at this week’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in California.
The feature offers users the option to hide their email address and instead be given a unique, random address that forwards messages to you rather than giving up your personal address.
The move is a response to criticism is that Google and Facebook links users’ account sign-ins to their Apple ID account instead of a Facebook or Google account.
The current internet login systems that the two digital giants use to gather data from around the web has been criticised for allowing tracking between websites and allowing advertisers to build up detailed profiles of users’ web habits.
This system is used by many online services, from The New York Times to Spotify and Airbnb, as a way to access users’ accounts.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal emerged because a quiz app linked to Facebook profiles was able to harvest data about their friends and interests.
Apple, which has touted its privacy credentials in recent months as a way to distance itself from other large tech companies, said its own version would minimise the data handed over to websites, including scrambling a person’s details so that they can be contacted without revealing their email address. Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi said it would be a “fast, easy way to sign in without all the tracking”.
A statement from Apple said: “Instead of using a social account or filling out forms, verifying email addresses or choosing passwords, customers can simply use their Apple ID to authenticate.”
Adding: “Apple will protect users’ privacy by providing developers with a unique random ID.
“Even in cases where developers choose to ask for a name and email address, users have the option to keep their email address private and share a unique random email address instead.”
The feature allows you to sign in without providing any personal information like email addresses to third-parties – thus preventing companies from engaging in malicious marketing activity.
When you opt in to hide your email, it will create a unique randomly generated email address that masks the actual email address associated with your Apple ID instead of having to remember passwords.
This new feature won’t only limit third-party tracking on Apple devices, it’ll also strong-arm developers to participate.
The system is a direct challenge to similar systems designed by Facebook and Google, which the two companies use to collect data on their users.
Also announced at WWDC as part of the new version of iOS, which powers iPhone and iPad, was a dark mode and new features for stock apps like Mail and Maps.
Geoff Blaber, an analyst at CCS Insight, said: “Sign-in with Apple takes Apple’s stance on Privacy beyond a philosophy. This is a significant challenge to Facebook and Google and will deepen awareness of Apple’s position on privacy. Apple will hope that ‘Apple privacy’ will become as important to users as iMessage or Safari
“The focus on privacy and security was palpable and unveiling of “Sign-in With Apple” will concern rivals, particularly the web giants. Existing sign-in services provide a simple means for single sign-in across the web. Privacy is the differentiator that will be heavily emphasized versus Facebook and Google and represents a great marketing tool for Apple’s broader privacy stance.”
Apple also announced new versions of its software for iPhones, iPads and Macs at its annual software developers event. It also announced a new Mac Pro, it’s most powerful computer ever. The tech giant also gave developers a new way to migrate their iPad apps to a Mac, which will give it more opportunities to sell apps through its Mac App Store.
The new system offers robust features for professionals dealing with large files like videos. Apple built a new card called Afterburner that can process 6 billion pixels per second to achieve more efficient video editing. The Mac Pro has 1.5 terabytes of system memory and a 1.4 kW power supply.
They also announced its new macOS that will make iOS apps available to 100 million Mac users. The announcement fits into Apple’s new focus on selling services to existing device users as the smartphone market has slowed down.
Apple TV and the Apple Watch also have new software updates.