In recent years, Apple has placed its focus on user privacy. The iPhone maker has clashed with other big tech companies, most notably Facebook owner Meta, over the issue. Apple has made every effort to protect user privacy cost platforms like Facebook, billions of dollars in revenue.
But as it turns out, Apple itself was collecting user data, even when its customers had specifically changed their settings to stop the company from doing so. Now Apple is being sued.
The tweet may have been deleted
(opens in a new tab)
App developer and security researcher Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry from software company Mysk recently found that iOS sends “every tip you make” to Apple from one of its proprietary apps. According to the developers, attempts to disable this data collection, such as For example, selecting the “Disable device analytics sharing completely” setting option will not affect the sending of data.
The data collected is also quite detailed. As gizmodo points out that when a user views the App Store app on their iPhone, their search data, what they typed and how long they checked out an app is sent to Apple in real time. Do you use Apple’s stocks app? Apple gets a list of the user’s watched stocks, all the articles they read in the app, and the names of all the stocks they searched for. The timestamps for which a user viewed stock information are also transmitted. Some Apple’s apps even collect detailed information about the user’s iPhone such as the model, screen resolution, and keyboard language.
Mysk conducted the test using a jailbroken iPhone running iOS 14.6. The team uncovered similar iPhone activity using a non-jailbroken phone running iOS 16. However, due to encryption, Mysk was unable to pinpoint what data was being sent on the device running the latest operating system.
A class action lawsuit was filed on Thursday claimed that Apple’s actions violate the California Invasion of Privacy Act. The lawsuit doesn’t focus as much on Apple collecting this data. The suit focuses on Apple’s settings, like “Allow Apps to Request to Track” and “Share Analytics,” which give users the impression that they can opt out of such tracking.
It shouldn’t be too surprising that Apple, or any tech company, is collecting user data. However, as Mysk’s team found, Apple collects this data regardless of a user’s settings, where they have the ability to opt out of data collection, potentially giving them a false sense of privacy.