Developer’s Visual Comparison of macOS Catalina and Big Sur Offers Closer Look at Apple’s UI Redesign for Macs

macOS 11 Big Sur is the next major release of Apple’s operating system for Mac, and following its preview at WWDC, one of the biggest discussions has revolved around the all-new user interface redesign.

Andrew Denty
Developers are still learning what the impact the new UI will have on their apps, and with that in mind, app designer Andrew Denty has compiled an extensive visual comparison of the user interface changes between macOS Catalina and macOS Big Sur.

All of the screenshots are taken on a default install of macOS and the Catalina version is always on the left. I made a conscious effort not to resize any windows or change any default settings. I haven’t captured everything, but it is a good taste of the changes so far.

The side-by-side comparisons cover changes to Finder, Preview, System Preferences, the menu bar, Notification Center, Safari, Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, Notes, Photos, Apple Music, Podcasts, and many other native apps.

Andrew Denty
Overall, Denty’s takeaway is that the UI differences in Big Sur aren’t as dramatic as he first thought, consisting of a “largely incremental set of changes to make macOS feel more coherent with iOS and iPad OS.”

That said, he thinks Apple “still has a vast amount of work to do to perfect the new macOS UI” before it exits the beta, and he hopes to see more consistency in the launch experience of apps, as well as more visual separation in elements like status bars and path bars, which he admits “look a little unloved” and don’t yet feel properly integrated.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Big Sur is available for developers at the current time, but Apple also plans to make a beta available for public beta testers in July, followed by an official release in the fall. What are your thoughts on the redesigned UI? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out our Big Sur roundup for an extensive look at all the new features.

Related Roundups: macOS Catalina, macOS Big Sur

This article, “Developer’s Visual Comparison of macOS Catalina and Big Sur Offers Closer Look at Apple’s UI Redesign for Macs” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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macOS 11 Big Sur is the next major release of Apple's operating system for Mac, and following its preview at WWDC, one of the biggest discussions has revolved around the all-new user interface redesign.

Andrew Denty
Developers are still learning what the impact the new UI will have on their apps, and with that in mind, app designer Andrew Denty has compiled an extensive visual comparison of the user interface changes between macOS Catalina and macOS Big Sur.
All of the screenshots are taken on a default install of macOS and the Catalina version is always on the left. I made a conscious effort not to resize any windows or change any default settings. I haven't captured everything, but it is a good taste of the changes so far.
The side-by-side comparisons cover changes to Finder, Preview, System Preferences, the menu bar, Notification Center, Safari, Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, Notes, Photos, Apple Music, Podcasts, and many other native apps.

Andrew Denty
Overall, Denty's takeaway is that the UI differences in Big Sur aren't as dramatic as he first thought, consisting of a "largely incremental set of changes to make macOS feel more coherent with iOS and iPad OS."

That said, he thinks Apple "still has a vast amount of work to do to perfect the new macOS UI" before it exits the beta, and he hopes to see more consistency in the launch experience of apps, as well as more visual separation in elements like status bars and path bars, which he admits "look a little unloved" and don't yet feel properly integrated.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Big Sur is available for developers at the current time, but Apple also plans to make a beta available for public beta testers in July, followed by an official release in the fall. What are your thoughts on the redesigned UI? Let us know in the comments below, and don't forget to check out our Big Sur roundup for an extensive look at all the new features.
Related Roundups: macOS Catalina, macOS Big Sur

This article, "Developer's Visual Comparison of macOS Catalina and Big Sur Offers Closer Look at Apple's UI Redesign for Macs" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Safari in macOS Big Sur Works With 4K HDR and Dolby Vision Content From Netflix on Newer Macs

Safari 14, introduced in the iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur betas, introduces HDR video support and allows Netflix users to watch content in 4K HDR and Dolby Vision for the first time.


As pointed out by 9to5Mac, Netflix has long offered 4K content that can be viewed on other platforms like the 4K Apple TV, but it has not been available to Mac users due to hardware limitations.

OMG! Netflix on ‌macOS Big Sur‌’s Safari browser just gave me 4K Stream with Dolby Vision on MacBook Pro! Earlier it was just 1080p with Dolby Vision. This is amazing. 😌 pic.twitter.com/afUQPeKisI

— Ishan Agarwal (@ishanagarwal24) June 28, 2020

Safari in macOS Catalina and earlier has limited Netflix content to 1080p resolution, but with ‌macOS Big Sur‌, Netflix works in 4K and supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 for more vivid colors.

Watching 4K HDR content on Mac requires a Mac introduced in 2018 or later, so older Macs will continue to be limited to 1080p resolution on Netflix with ‌macOS Big Sur‌.

As we covered last week, tvOS 14 and ‌iOS 14‌ are now compatible with YouTube’s VP9 codec, allowing 4K YouTube content to be watched on those platforms, but the codec is not yet supported in Safari 14 in ‌macOS Big Sur‌.

Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur

This article, “Safari in macOS Big Sur Works With 4K HDR and Dolby Vision Content From Netflix on Newer Macs” first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Safari 14, introduced in the iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur betas, introduces HDR video support and allows Netflix users to watch content in 4K HDR and Dolby Vision for the first time.


As pointed out by 9to5Mac, Netflix has long offered 4K content that can be viewed on other platforms like the 4K Apple TV, but it has not been available to Mac users due to hardware limitations.


Safari in macOS Catalina and earlier has limited Netflix content to 1080p resolution, but with ‌macOS Big Sur‌, Netflix works in 4K and supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 for more vivid colors.

Watching 4K HDR content on Mac requires a Mac introduced in 2018 or later, so older Macs will continue to be limited to 1080p resolution on Netflix with ‌macOS Big Sur‌.

As we covered last week, tvOS 14 and ‌iOS 14‌ are now compatible with YouTube's VP9 codec, allowing 4K YouTube content to be watched on those platforms, but the codec is not yet supported in Safari 14 in ‌macOS Big Sur‌.
Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur

This article, "Safari in macOS Big Sur Works With 4K HDR and Dolby Vision Content From Netflix on Newer Macs" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Hand and Body Pose Detection in iOS 14 Will Provide New Ways to Interact With Your iPhone Without Touching the Display

Starting in iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur, developers will be able to add the capability to detect human body and hand poses in photos and videos to their apps using Apple’s updated Vision framework, as explained in this WWDC 2020 session.


This functionality will allow apps to analyze the poses, movements, and gestures of people, enabling a wide variety of potential features. Apple provides some examples, including a fitness app that could automatically track the exercise a user performs, a safety-training app that could help employees use correct ergonomics, and a media-editing app that could find photos or videos based on pose similarity.

Hand pose detection in particular promises to deliver a new form of interaction with apps. Apple’s demonstration showed a person holding their thumb and index finger together and then being able to draw in an iPhone app without touching the display.


Additionally, apps could use the framework to overlay emoji or graphics on a user’s hands that mirror the specific gesture, such as a peace sign.


Another example is a camera app that automatically triggers photo capture when it detects the user making a specific hand gesture in the air.

The framework is capable of detecting multiple hands or bodies in one scene, but the algorithms might not work as well with people who are wearing gloves, bent over, facing upside down, or wearing overflowing or robe-like clothing. The algorithm can also experience difficulties if a person is close to edge of the screen or partially obstructed.

Similar functionality is already available through ARKit, but it is limited to augmented reality sessions and only works with the rear-facing camera on compatible iPhone and iPad models. With the updated Vision framework, developers have many more possibilities.

This article, “Hand and Body Pose Detection in iOS 14 Will Provide New Ways to Interact With Your iPhone Without Touching the Display” first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Starting in iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur, developers will be able to add the capability to detect human body and hand poses in photos and videos to their apps using Apple's updated Vision framework, as explained in this WWDC 2020 session.


This functionality will allow apps to analyze the poses, movements, and gestures of people, enabling a wide variety of potential features. Apple provides some examples, including a fitness app that could automatically track the exercise a user performs, a safety-training app that could help employees use correct ergonomics, and a media-editing app that could find photos or videos based on pose similarity.

Hand pose detection in particular promises to deliver a new form of interaction with apps. Apple's demonstration showed a person holding their thumb and index finger together and then being able to draw in an iPhone app without touching the display.


Additionally, apps could use the framework to overlay emoji or graphics on a user's hands that mirror the specific gesture, such as a peace sign.


Another example is a camera app that automatically triggers photo capture when it detects the user making a specific hand gesture in the air.

The framework is capable of detecting multiple hands or bodies in one scene, but the algorithms might not work as well with people who are wearing gloves, bent over, facing upside down, or wearing overflowing or robe-like clothing. The algorithm can also experience difficulties if a person is close to edge of the screen or partially obstructed.

Similar functionality is already available through ARKit, but it is limited to augmented reality sessions and only works with the rear-facing camera on compatible iPhone and iPad models. With the updated Vision framework, developers have many more possibilities.
This article, "Hand and Body Pose Detection in iOS 14 Will Provide New Ways to Interact With Your iPhone Without Touching the Display" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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iPhone and iPad Apps Coming to Macs With Apple Silicon, Developers Can Manage Availability in App Store Connect

Apple today shared a video with more details about the availability of iPhone and iPad apps on future Macs with custom Apple processors.


Macs with custom Apple processors will share the same Arm architecture as iPhones and iPads, meaning that they will be able to run many iOS and iPadOS apps without any modifications or recompilation. Like traditional Mac apps, these iPhone and iPad apps will be distributed through the Mac App Store, with in-app purchase options carrying over.

A notice in Apple’s developer portal says that all new and existing compatible iPhone and iPad apps will be made available in the Mac App Store on Macs with Apple silicon, unless developers uncheck the “iOS App on Mac” box in App Store Connect. There is no obligation for developers to extend their iPhone and iPad apps to the Mac.


Following years of rumors, Apple confirmed its plans to switch to custom processors for Macs during its WWDC keynote this week, promising industry-leading performance per watt. Apple said it plans to ship the first Mac with its own silicon by the end of the year and complete the transition in about two years.

Apple said that it will continue to support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for years to come, and it also confirmed that it still has some new Intel-based Macs in development in the interim.

Related Roundups: WWDC 2020, macOS Big Sur

This article, “iPhone and iPad Apps Coming to Macs With Apple Silicon, Developers Can Manage Availability in App Store Connect” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple today shared a video with more details about the availability of iPhone and iPad apps on future Macs with custom Apple processors.


Macs with custom Apple processors will share the same Arm architecture as iPhones and iPads, meaning that they will be able to run many iOS and iPadOS apps without any modifications or recompilation. Like traditional Mac apps, these iPhone and iPad apps will be distributed through the Mac App Store, with in-app purchase options carrying over.

A notice in Apple's developer portal says that all new and existing compatible iPhone and iPad apps will be made available in the Mac App Store on Macs with Apple silicon, unless developers uncheck the "iOS App on Mac" box in App Store Connect. There is no obligation for developers to extend their iPhone and iPad apps to the Mac.


Following years of rumors, Apple confirmed its plans to switch to custom processors for Macs during its WWDC keynote this week, promising industry-leading performance per watt. Apple said it plans to ship the first Mac with its own silicon by the end of the year and complete the transition in about two years.

Apple said that it will continue to support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for years to come, and it also confirmed that it still has some new Intel-based Macs in development in the interim.
Related Roundups: WWDC 2020, macOS Big Sur

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macOS Big Sur Adds Battery Usage History and Brings Back Remaining Battery Estimates

macOS Big Sur does away with the “Energy Saver” section of System Preferences, replacing it with a new “Battery” section that expands the battery reporting capabilities of the Mac.


A new Usage History feature provides details on the Mac’s battery life over the course of the last 24 hours or the last 10 days, broken down into Battery Level and Screen On Usage so you can see how your battery is performing.

There does not appear to be a detailed rundown on which apps used the battery the most as there is on iOS, but it does provide a better look at how the battery is being consumed over time.

Along with the Usage History section, there are Battery and Power Adapter sections that replace the functionality that was previously available through Energy Saver. You can choose when to turn the display off, enable or disable power nap, and more, with the settings split for battery usage and usage when connected to power. The schedule feature is also present.


In the menu bar, clicking the battery icon now provides an estimate of remaining battery life, a feature that was removed from macOS Sierra back in 2016. At the time, Apple said that the battery life indicator in macOS Sierra was inaccurate and led to confusion about battery performance.


The menu bar battery icon also displays apps that are using significant energy, as in macOS Catalina, and it provides an option for opening up Battery Preferences. There does not appear to be an option to display current battery life percentage right in the menu bar, however.

‌macOS Big Sur‌ is limited to developers at the current time, but Apple plans to make a public beta available this July ahead of when the software sees a full release in the fall.

Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur

This article, “macOS Big Sur Adds Battery Usage History and Brings Back Remaining Battery Estimates” first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

macOS Big Sur does away with the "Energy Saver" section of System Preferences, replacing it with a new "Battery" section that expands the battery reporting capabilities of the Mac.


A new Usage History feature provides details on the Mac's battery life over the course of the last 24 hours or the last 10 days, broken down into Battery Level and Screen On Usage so you can see how your battery is performing.

There does not appear to be a detailed rundown on which apps used the battery the most as there is on iOS, but it does provide a better look at how the battery is being consumed over time.

Along with the Usage History section, there are Battery and Power Adapter sections that replace the functionality that was previously available through Energy Saver. You can choose when to turn the display off, enable or disable power nap, and more, with the settings split for battery usage and usage when connected to power. The schedule feature is also present.


In the menu bar, clicking the battery icon now provides an estimate of remaining battery life, a feature that was removed from macOS Sierra back in 2016. At the time, Apple said that the battery life indicator in macOS Sierra was inaccurate and led to confusion about battery performance.


The menu bar battery icon also displays apps that are using significant energy, as in macOS Catalina, and it provides an option for opening up Battery Preferences. There does not appear to be an option to display current battery life percentage right in the menu bar, however.

‌macOS Big Sur‌ is limited to developers at the current time, but Apple plans to make a public beta available this July ahead of when the software sees a full release in the fall.
Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur

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macOS Big Sur Brings Back Startup Chime

macOS Big Sur, the newest version of Apple’s operating system designed for Macs, brings back the classic startup chime that was eliminated from the MacBook lineup in 2016.


The sound was removed from the 13 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models that were released in 2016, as those models booted up when opened or connected to a power source, making the sound unnecessary. There was a method for reenabling the sound through Terminal, but it was a hassle. In ‌macOS Big Sur‌, the chime that sounds when starting up a Mac has returned, as demoed below.

The startup chime in ‌macOS Big Sur‌. pic.twitter.com/rRSN4MrIBp

— Juli Clover (@julipuli) June 23, 2020

The chime is the same as the chime that used to sound on older Macs, and those who were fond of the sound for diagnostic purposes or will be pleased about its return.

Though turned on by default, if the sound isn’t working, ‌macOS Big Sur‌ users can make sure it’s enabled by going to System Preferences > Sound and checking “Play sound on startup.” Likewise, those who do not prefer the sound can turn it off here.

In other sound related updates, as noted on the MacRumors forums, Macs with MagSafe connectors once again play a sound when the cable is connected to the Mac to signal a successful connection. USB-C Macs have long had this feature, but it has been missing for older Macs that use MagSafe.

To go along with the redesign in ‌macOS Big Sur‌, system sounds throughout the operating system have been redesigned to sound “more pleasing to the ear.” Apple created the new sounds based on snippets of the original, so everything should sound familiar but fresh.

We’ll have a hands-on look at ‌macOS Big Sur‌ and the new sounds later this week, so make sure to stay tuned to MacRumors.

Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur

This article, “macOS Big Sur Brings Back Startup Chime” first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

macOS Big Sur, the newest version of Apple's operating system designed for Macs, brings back the classic startup chime that was eliminated from the MacBook lineup in 2016.


The sound was removed from the 13 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models that were released in 2016, as those models booted up when opened or connected to a power source, making the sound unnecessary. There was a method for reenabling the sound through Terminal, but it was a hassle. In ‌macOS Big Sur‌, the chime that sounds when starting up a Mac has returned, as demoed below.


The chime is the same as the chime that used to sound on older Macs, and those who were fond of the sound for diagnostic purposes or will be pleased about its return.

Though turned on by default, if the sound isn't working, ‌macOS Big Sur‌ users can make sure it's enabled by going to System Preferences > Sound and checking "Play sound on startup." Likewise, those who do not prefer the sound can turn it off here.

In other sound related updates, as noted on the MacRumors forums, Macs with MagSafe connectors once again play a sound when the cable is connected to the Mac to signal a successful connection. USB-C Macs have long had this feature, but it has been missing for older Macs that use MagSafe.


To go along with the redesign in ‌macOS Big Sur‌, system sounds throughout the operating system have been redesigned to sound "more pleasing to the ear." Apple created the new sounds based on snippets of the original, so everything should sound familiar but fresh.

We'll have a hands-on look at ‌macOS Big Sur‌ and the new sounds later this week, so make sure to stay tuned to MacRumors.
Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur

This article, "macOS Big Sur Brings Back Startup Chime" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Network Utility Deprecated in macOS Big Sur

Apple has deprecated its long-standing Network Utility app in macOS Big Sur, with the app no longer functioning in the first developer beta.


Network Utility provided information and troubleshooting tools to help users check their network connection, view routing tables, trace network traffic paths, check for open TCP ports, and more. Since the release of macOS Mojave, the app had been rather hidden under System > Library > CoreServices > Applications.

Network Utility’s functionality can still be replicated with Terminal commands, and for Wi-Fi issues, Apple says to use the Wireless Diagnostics app.

Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur

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Apple has deprecated its long-standing Network Utility app in macOS Big Sur, with the app no longer functioning in the first developer beta.


Network Utility provided information and troubleshooting tools to help users check their network connection, view routing tables, trace network traffic paths, check for open TCP ports, and more. Since the release of macOS Mojave, the app had been rather hidden under System > Library > CoreServices > Applications.

Network Utility's functionality can still be replicated with Terminal commands, and for Wi-Fi issues, Apple says to use the Wireless Diagnostics app.
Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur

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List of Macs Compatible With macOS Big Sur

Apple today previewed macOS Big Sur with redesigned interfaces such as the Dock and Notification Center, the addition of a Control Center, several improvements to core apps like Safari and Messages, and much more.


macOS Big Sur is available in beta for registered Apple developers starting today, with a public beta to follow next month. The free software update will be released to all users with a compatible Mac in the fall, according to Apple.

Macs compatible with macOS Big Sur:

  • 2015 and later MacBook
  • 2013 and later MacBook Air
  • Late 2013 and later MacBook Pro
  • 2014 and later iMac
  • 2017 and later iMac Pro
  • 2014 and later Mac mini
  • 2013 and later Mac Pro

Accordingly, the following models capable of running macOS Catalina will not be able to be upgraded to macOS Big Sur:

  • 2012 and Early 2013 MacBook Pro
  • 2012 MacBook Air
  • 2012 and 2013 iMac
  • 2012 Mac mini
Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur

This article, “List of Macs Compatible With macOS Big Sur” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple today previewed macOS Big Sur with redesigned interfaces such as the Dock and Notification Center, the addition of a Control Center, several improvements to core apps like Safari and Messages, and much more.


macOS Big Sur is available in beta for registered Apple developers starting today, with a public beta to follow next month. The free software update will be released to all users with a compatible Mac in the fall, according to Apple.

Macs compatible with macOS Big Sur:
  • 2015 and later MacBook

  • 2013 and later MacBook Air

  • Late 2013 and later MacBook Pro

  • 2014 and later iMac

  • 2017 and later iMac Pro

  • 2014 and later Mac mini

  • 2013 and later Mac Pro
Accordingly, the following models capable of running macOS Catalina will not be able to be upgraded to macOS Big Sur:
  • 2012 and Early 2013 MacBook Pro

  • 2012 MacBook Air

  • 2012 and 2013 iMac

  • 2012 Mac mini
Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur

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Apple’s Craig Federighi Highlights iOS 14 and MacOS Big Sur Privacy Updates in New Interview

iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and macOS Big Sur include some notable privacy updates that offer useful privacy protections for those that invest in and use Apple’s range of iPhones, iPads, and Macs.


In an interview with Fast Company, Apple software chief Craig Federighi highlighted all of the new privacy features that users can look forward to when the new software updates come out this fall, plus he provided some insight into Apple’s privacy philosophy.

According to Federighi, privacy is an important part of every software update because Apple wants to show customers that they can “demand more” and “expect more” from the industry when it comes to privacy protections. “We can help move the industry into building things that better protect privacy,” said Federighi.

“I think that there are many instances where we started providing privacy protections of some sort, and then we then saw others in the industry-some of whom have different business models than we do-adopt those practices because users came to expect them,” he says. “That’s happening all over the place. I mean, look at whether it’s apps protecting customer messaging with end-to-end encryption. Or some of the kinds of location protections we’re talking about. Or some of our protections, like requiring apps to ask before they access your photo libraries, and so forth. You see those protections being added to other operating systems, inspired by our work and based on the fact that users demand them.”

Privacy at Apple is guided by four core principles: data minimization, on-device intelligence, security, and transparency and control. All four of those principles were in play when Apple designed ‌iOS 14‌, ‌iPadOS‌ 14, and ‌macOS Big Sur‌, and all of the updates include significant privacy features, as outlined below.

  • Approximate Location – You can now choose to provide apps with your approximate location rather than your specific location, which is a great feature for protecting location privacy. Apps that provide info like weather, news, and restaurant recommendations don’t need exact location data, making approximate location data an appropriate choice.
  • App Tracking Permission – Apps in iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 14 won’t be able to cross track you across the web without consent. Users will be able to see what apps they’ve granted permission to cross-track them and revoke that permission at any time. This feature also applies to Apple’s own apps.
  • App Store Privacy Details – ‌App Store‌ listings for apps will include an easy-to-read list of privacy details so you know what data is collected before you download an app. Internally, Apple is referring to this as a “nutrition label for apps,” and it will include details on the user data an app wants across 31 categories. This won’t be available when ‌iOS 14‌ ships, but it is coming before the end of the year.
  • Clipboard Restrictions – Apps no longer have full access to the clipboard. Previously, most apps could access the last data you copied, but that’s no longer the case. Apps will require user permission to access the clipboard for the first time, so you can prevent apps that don’t need that information from accessing it.
  • Compromised passwords – Apple’s new software updates will notify you if a password stored in iCloud Keychain has been compromised in a data breach.
  • Microphone and Camera Notifications – When an app is accessing either the camera or the microphone on an iPhone or iPad, there will be indicator lights next to the cellular signal that will let you know. There’s a green indicator light for the camera and an orange indicator light for the microphone.

Federighi told Fast Company that many of the new privacy features added to iOS each year are based on customer feedback and emails.

“I get emails from customers saying to me, ‘I am sure this popular app I downloaded is secretly listening to me. I was just talking about this thing, and this ad came up that was just about what I was talking about. I’m sure it was listening to me,'” he says.

“Now, in many cases, this, in fact, was not happening,” says Federighi of concerns over ‌iPhone‌ users being unwittingly recorded. “We know it was not happening. But they believe it is. And so, providing that peace of mind through a recording indicator that will always let you know whether an app, at that moment, is accessing your camera or accessing your microphone is important.”

He wrapped up the conversation by saying that he believes Apple’s work on privacy protections will be one of the legacies that it’s remembered for centuries from now.

Federighi’s full interview on privacy can be read over on the Fast Company website, and it’s well worth reading because it provides a look at Apple’s efforts to improve privacy protections for users over time as well as Apple’s thoughts on how developers perceive its privacy features.

Related Roundups: iOS 14, macOS Big Sur

This article, “Apple’s Craig Federighi Highlights iOS 14 and MacOS Big Sur Privacy Updates in New Interview” first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and macOS Big Sur include some notable privacy updates that offer useful privacy protections for those that invest in and use Apple's range of iPhones, iPads, and Macs.


In an interview with Fast Company, Apple software chief Craig Federighi highlighted all of the new privacy features that users can look forward to when the new software updates come out this fall, plus he provided some insight into Apple's privacy philosophy.

According to Federighi, privacy is an important part of every software update because Apple wants to show customers that they can "demand more" and "expect more" from the industry when it comes to privacy protections. "We can help move the industry into building things that better protect privacy," said Federighi.
"I think that there are many instances where we started providing privacy protections of some sort, and then we then saw others in the industry-some of whom have different business models than we do-adopt those practices because users came to expect them," he says. "That's happening all over the place. I mean, look at whether it's apps protecting customer messaging with end-to-end encryption. Or some of the kinds of location protections we're talking about. Or some of our protections, like requiring apps to ask before they access your photo libraries, and so forth. You see those protections being added to other operating systems, inspired by our work and based on the fact that users demand them."
Privacy at Apple is guided by four core principles: data minimization, on-device intelligence, security, and transparency and control. All four of those principles were in play when Apple designed ‌iOS 14‌, ‌iPadOS‌ 14, and ‌macOS Big Sur‌, and all of the updates include significant privacy features, as outlined below.

  • Approximate Location - You can now choose to provide apps with your approximate location rather than your specific location, which is a great feature for protecting location privacy. Apps that provide info like weather, news, and restaurant recommendations don't need exact location data, making approximate location data an appropriate choice.

  • App Tracking Permission - Apps in iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 14 won't be able to cross track you across the web without consent. Users will be able to see what apps they've granted permission to cross-track them and revoke that permission at any time. This feature also applies to Apple's own apps.

  • App Store Privacy Details - ‌App Store‌ listings for apps will include an easy-to-read list of privacy details so you know what data is collected before you download an app. Internally, Apple is referring to this as a "nutrition label for apps," and it will include details on the user data an app wants across 31 categories. This won't be available when ‌iOS 14‌ ships, but it is coming before the end of the year.

  • Clipboard Restrictions - Apps no longer have full access to the clipboard. Previously, most apps could access the last data you copied, but that's no longer the case. Apps will require user permission to access the clipboard for the first time, so you can prevent apps that don't need that information from accessing it.

  • Compromised passwords - Apple's new software updates will notify you if a password stored in iCloud Keychain has been compromised in a data breach.

  • Microphone and Camera Notifications - When an app is accessing either the camera or the microphone on an iPhone or iPad, there will be indicator lights next to the cellular signal that will let you know. There's a green indicator light for the camera and an orange indicator light for the microphone.


Federighi told Fast Company that many of the new privacy features added to iOS each year are based on customer feedback and emails.
"I get emails from customers saying to me, 'I am sure this popular app I downloaded is secretly listening to me. I was just talking about this thing, and this ad came up that was just about what I was talking about. I'm sure it was listening to me,'" he says.

"Now, in many cases, this, in fact, was not happening," says Federighi of concerns over ‌iPhone‌ users being unwittingly recorded. "We know it was not happening. But they believe it is. And so, providing that peace of mind through a recording indicator that will always let you know whether an app, at that moment, is accessing your camera or accessing your microphone is important."
He wrapped up the conversation by saying that he believes Apple's work on privacy protections will be one of the legacies that it's remembered for centuries from now.

Federighi's full interview on privacy can be read over on the Fast Company website, and it's well worth reading because it provides a look at Apple's efforts to improve privacy protections for users over time as well as Apple's thoughts on how developers perceive its privacy features.
Related Roundups: iOS 14, macOS Big Sur

This article, "Apple's Craig Federighi Highlights iOS 14 and MacOS Big Sur Privacy Updates in New Interview" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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