WWDC23: Apple announces new App Store privacy features

Image Source: Apple

Tech giant Apple kicked off the 2023 Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday unveiling its latest software and hardware updates, including two new privacy features to help App Store developers create better apps ‘’while informing users and respecting their choices about how their data is used’’.

One of them is the new privacy manifests, which Apple says will help developers better understand how third-party software development kits (SDKs) use data. They are the ‘’files that outline the privacy practices of the third-party code in an app, in a single standard format’, the company explained in a blog post. ‘’When developers prepare to distribute their app, Xcode will combine the privacy manifests across all the third-party SDKs that a developer is using into a single, easy-to-use report.‘’

With this comprehensive report, which will show all the third-party SDKs used in an iOS app, the company also aims to simplify it for developers to create more accurate Privacy Nutrition Labels.

In addition, to offer users extra privacy protection, the iPhone-maker also said that apps with APIs that could potentially be used for fingerprinting, which is not allowed on the App Store, will now be obligated to specify an allowed reason for their usage of these APIs and declare it in the new privacy manifests. They will be required to accurately describe their usage, and will only be able to use those APIs for the reasons specified in their manifest. 

Furthermore, Apple also announced signatures for SDKs on Monday, with which it aims to help developers enhance the integrity of their software supply chain.

‘’When using third-party SDKs, it can be hard for developers to know the code that they downloaded was written by the developer that they expect,’’ the company said in the blog post. ‘’To address that, we’re introducing signatures for SDKs so that when a developer adopts a new version of a third-party SDK in their app, Xcode will validate that it was signed by the same developer. Developers and users alike will benefit from this feature.’’

The company said that it will provide further details regarding the new privacy features later this year.

Meanwhile, during the first day of WWDC 2023, the iPhone-maker also unveiled new iOS 17 features like ”Sensitive Content Warning”, and announced the winners of this year’s Apple Design Awards.

Written by Tuna Cetin


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