Never underestimate Apple’s ability to surprise and delight. In fact, one of the coolest new features coming in iOS 8 didn’t even merit a public mention at Apple’s just concluded Worldwide Developer Conference.
“It wasn’t touted onstage, but a new iOS 8 feature is set to cause havoc for location trackers, and score a major win for privacy,” The Verge. “When iOS 8 devices look for a connection, they randomize that address, effectively disguising any trace of the real device until it decides to connect to a network.”
iOS 8: A Game Changer for Privacy?
Why are iPhones checking out Wi-Fi networks in disguise? Because there’s an entire industry devoted to tracking customers through that signal. As The New York Times reported last summer, shops from Nordstrom’s to JC Penney have tried out the system. The system automatically logs any phone within Wi-Fi range, giving stores a complete record of who walked into the shop and when. But any phone using iOS 8 will be invisible… — The Verge.
iOS 8 randomizes an iPhone’s hardware network (a.k.a. media access control address or MAC) address, which is a very forward thinking and progressive way to protect user privacy — you only get seen when you choose to be seen.
How cool is that? Of course, once you join a local wifi network or use a location aware app, you will be tracked. However, if you choose to fly below the wifi radar and/or keep location services turned, with iOS 8 running on your iPhone or iPad, you could move around pretty much anonymously.
What new iOS 8 features are you looking forward to?