Apple launches 'Sign In with Apple' in bid to protect user privacy

New 'Sign In With Apple' feature could complicate data-gathering services advertisers rely on.

Apple announced a new 'sign in with Apple' feature at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday.

The feature should prevent third-party sites and services from gathering user information when they sign up to use services and sign in with Google or Facebook.

Often times, developers give the possibility to log in with Google or Facebook when signing up for a new service or creating an account.

And while this makes it more convenient to start using an app, this data is often passed on to other services who use it to track users online. Often times users are unaware that this takes place.

By allowing users to 'Sign in With Apple', the company hopes to put an end to this malpractice.

Unlike signing in with Google or Facebook, signing in with Apple uses a Face ID to authenticate a user. Apple claims this will prevent any personal data from being handed over to a third party.

Auto-generated email addresses

Another feature Apple is launching to help protect user privacy is the ability to add an auto-generated email when logging in to use a service for the first time.

Apps often require users to provide a name and email when they sign up for a service. This is natural, because it allows companies to identify you and keep track of their users.

But some users may be uncomfortable handing over their real email addresses. And some companies abuse users by bombarding them with spam once they get a hold of an email address.

To prevent this from happening, Apple is giving iPhone users the ability to add a random email addresses to any app when they want to log in.

Apple will generate a random email address upon log in, and this email address will then forward any mail the company sends you to your real email address.

In this way, a user can still stay informed on news from a service without ever giving a company their real email address.

If at any time in the future a user grows bored of any emails the company sends, they simply disable the intermediary email.

This gives a lot of power back to users, because some companies will continue to send emails to users even after they unsubscribed.

Location Tracking

A third privacy feature Apple is updating is location tracking. Developers will no longer be able to share details about wifi networks or bluetooth signals of users. And users will only be able to share their location with an app once.

Apple has positioned itself as the championship of privacy in recent years. These updates could further cement that reputation, especially at a time when Google and Facebook face heightened scrutinity over their ad tracking practices.

Apple's WWDC 2019 conference continues for four days and ends on June 7th. There are sure to be a host of new announcements in the upcoming days, so stay tuned.

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