Later in 2021, Apple will roll out a suite of privacy features across its operating systems, including new anti-tracking protections in Mail and a microphone indicator light in macOS Monterey.
As part of the privacy push, Apple is debuting a new Mail privacy feature that allows users to mitigate tracking pixels within marketing emails. As a result, the sender of an email with tracking pixel won't be able to see a Mac user's IP address or whether they've opened a message.
There are also a pair of new iCloud-connected privacy features: Private Relay and Hide My Email. The former feature encrypts a user's traffic and masks their location, browsing activity, and IP address. The latter feature allows users to create random email addresses that forward messages to a personal inbox while keeping a user's real email address private.
A revamped App Privacy Report builds on the company's existing monitoring technology, which displays an at-a-glance look at app usage across a week or a more detailed hourly view. New to iOS 15 are affordances that enable users to check which apps recently accessed device location, photos, camera, microphone, and contacts. The updated tool also notes when apps contact other domains.
Mac devices already have a physical light that turns on when the camera is in use. Now, in macOS Monterey, Apple is supplementing that privacy feature with a similar indicator for the microphone.
"A new software indicator augments the camera indicator light by showing you whenever an app has access to your mic," Apple says of the feature.
The microphone software indicator appears as an orange dot in the top menu bar. When users click on the Control Center, they'll also be able to view which specific app is currently accessing the mic.
Apple's new Mac indicator is part of a broader slate of privacy features that are debuting across iOS 15, macOS Monterey, and Apple's other software updates later in 2021.
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