Apple is firmly committed to privacy—whether law enforcement likes it or not.
The company this week confirmed that its next operating system update, IOS 11.4, will close loopholes that let law enforcement use a tool to bypass security features on iPhones and iPads. The move followed another decision by Apple to ban apps from its App Store that collected contacts from customers’ phones and then spammed those contacts.
But it wasn’t all about privacy this week. Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed an interesting perk at his company’s new Apple Park headquarters and the company took on the cryptocurrency market through a decision to ban apps that mine for digital currency.
Read on for all that and more from this week’s biggest Apple headlines:
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- Apple said this week that iOS 11.4, its next software update for the iPhone and iPad, will close a loophole that let law enforcement agencies bypass encryption protocols on its mobile devices. The tweak adds a USB Restricted Mode option to the operating system that will be turned on by default. The feature disables the USB port from transmitting any kind of data if the phone hasn’t been unlocked in the last hour. Apple had discovered that law enforcement agencies were using a workaround by transferring data with an attached device connected via USB. The software update, which will be released soon, will stop that from being possible.
- The iPhone maker this week updated its App Store Review Guidelines to stop developers from being able to collect information from user contacts and then use that data to create a database of contact information for their own use. The update, which could mean that Apple will remove some apps that use the technique from the App Store, requires users to explicitly allow an app to contact another friend or family member.
- In another update to its App Store Review Guidelines, Apple informed developers that apps may no longer “run unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining.” The change means apps that had used the iPhone’s processing power on a person’s phone to mine, or solve a series of math equations, to obtain cryptocurrency, would no longer be allowed. It’s unknown which apps—if any—had been using the technique on user phones.
- In hardware news, Fast Company reported that Apple could be bringing some changes to buttons on the Apple Watch. In one case, Apple may decide to use buttons in the smartwatch that don’t actually move to improve its water-resistance by reducing chances of water seeping into the moving button. In another, the report said Apple could start moving buttons from its smartwatch altogether. It’s unknown when the change may come, but Fast Company’s sources said it could be as early as this year or as late as 2019.
- Apple is moving into the feature-film business, according to a report this week. The company is reportedly in talks with Ireland-based animation studio Cartoon Saloon to obtain the rights to an upcoming animated movie. Apple is hoping to buy the distribution rights to the film, according to the report, but it’s yet to be filmed and is likely more than a year away from its release. Apple has already invested heavily in television programming for its streaming video services.
One more thing…If you get a job for Apple and work at its Apple Park headquarters, be ready to stand. In an interview in Bloomberg this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that every employee at Apple Park has a standing desk, giving them the option of sitting or standing throughout the day. He’s previously called sitting “the new cancer.”