Apple announced a series of new software features at the Worldwide Developers' Congress (Worldwide Developers Conference) on Monday. In addition to the upgraded animojis and upcoming iOS 12, the company announced a more radical innovation.
The next version of Apple's Safari browser will address the ad tracking and impression techniques of devices used by advertising agencies and data brokers to track web users while browsing. Apple seems to have started with Facebook.
The next version of Safari will explicitly notify you when a site attempts to access cookies or other data stored on your computer and will allow you to decide whether or not to allow it. It is a welcome feature that offers clear options for online monitoring.
Upcoming Safari will compete with the so-called fingerprinting tracking method used by advertising companies to gather information from users' devices - such as how to set it up, the fonts they have installed, and the running addons. All this additional information gives an individual and identifiable identity.
In the upcoming macOS Mojave and iOS 12, Safari will clean up many of these data, exposing only general configuration information and default fonts.
"Data companies are smart and relentless," Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, said Monday, explaining why Apple decided to add those features. The company calls all the tools "Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0."
The new version of Safari will also help improve passwords by providing tools for creating powerful passwords, automatically filling in and storing them.
The browser will also check the reuse of passwords to discourage users from using the same password in many services.
The new features add to the features of last year's Safari update that prevented automatic video and audio playback. However, this year's updates are trying to ward off tracking techniques.
Apple is not the only company that has such tools in its browser for privacy and security.
As with Chrome's Do Not Track, Apple seems to have taken some of the new Safari protections from the Mozilla Foundation, which offers protection features in the Firefox browser.