Widgets and the new App Library might have stolen the show at Apple’s latest keynote, but in light of growing online security concerns, the newest version of Safari is definitely worth considering. Along with several other software updates, Apple announced at the online-only WWDC that the new version of the Safari browser will tell users what trackers are following their online behavior on each website and generate privacy reports every 30 days.
This feature is part of a larger set of privacy updates that will come with the newest Safari update on iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur this fall and points towards a transition to a transparency-driven ecosystem where the user has more control over their data.
How does the new Privacy Report work?
With the new update, Safari users will see a “Privacy Report” button next to the URL bar. By clicking on it, they’ll be able to see what third-party trackers are monitoring their behavior on that website and then proceed to block them. In a screenshot posted by Apple, we can also see that Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0 also blocks Google Analytics; not first-party Google Analytics cookies, but third-party tracking cookies and cross-site scripting requests.
How secure will the new Safari be compared to other browsers?
Even before this announcement, Safari was already one of the most private browsers, along with Firefox, and that’s mostly because Apple makes money from selling hardware, not ads. It started in 2018, when they took a stand against the way companies like Facebook and Google harvest user data without their consent and pass them on to advertisers. Then, in 2019, they put up a billboard at the CES tech show to draw attention to growing privacy concerns.
The Privacy Report isn’t the only privacy-centered updated coming with the new version of Safari. The browser will also support more extensions, but the user will be able to control which extensions work on each website individually and stop them from having access to their data at all times.
Then there’s also “Sign in with Apple” – a feature that Apple introduced last year, but will now be getting some updates. With the new version of Safari, it will be easier to change existing online accounts into versions managed by Sign in with Apple. Also, the browser will check if the passwords it generated were leaked in a data breach without sharing them with Apple. According to Apple’s Craig Federighi, the feature was already used by 200 million people since it was launched.
When are these privacy-friendly updates coming to your device?
Apple said that iOS 14 will come out in autumn, but didn’t mention an exact date. Based on previous years, it will probably be linked to the launch of the iPhone 12, so unless there are any delays, that should be somewhere around 14-18 September. As for the desktop version of Safari, that is also expected to drop in September or October.