Apple China denies location tracking claims: we’re ‘deeply committed to protecting the privacy of all our customers’

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This past week, Chinese State TV called the iPhone a “national security concern” because of its location tracking capabilities. The iPhone’s operating system utilizes location for several applications, including Maps and Weather. iOS 7 also introduced a new feature that utilizes a customer’s location in order to provide improved traffic and route information. Now, Apple has quickly responded via a concrete and comprehensive message on its website for China. The message is advertised on the homepage, and is a direct response to the allegations from China State TV.

Apple denies the claims by stating that “privacy is built into [its] products and services from the earliest stages of design. We work tirelessly to deliver the most secure hardware and software in the world.” Apple also explains that it uses industry leading encryption to protect location data, and says that all location data is stored solely on the iPhone, not on Apple’s servers.

Apple goes on to, once again, explain that it does not work with government agencies to spy on its customers: “Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will. It’s something we feel very strongly about.” Apple goes on to list specific work it does for individual services in order to protect customer privacy.

On Maps:

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Apple bolsters iOS 8 Health app with on-device steps, distance tracking & caffeine monitoring

Apple has made significant enhancements to its upcoming Health application for iOS 8 in the latest beta of the new iPhone operating system. Most notably, the Health application can now utilize the iPhone’s own M7 motion tracking hardware for data sourcing.

The Health app’s Steps counter tab can now report steps without connecting to any third party applications or hardware devices. Because this feature likely uses the M7 processor, an iPhone 5s is required to get the steps data directly from the device…

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iOS 8 beta 3 indicates iCloud Drive will also be accessible from iCloud.com

 

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iCloud Drive was first announced at WWDC. This feature is Apple’s new approach to iCloud file syncing, replacing Documents and Data. The new interface acts more like Dropbox, with one central folder containing all iCloud documents in one place. This gives more flexibility over the model used by iOS 7 and Mavericks, where iCloud documents are siloed within their own app’s containers.

At WWDC, Apple announced that iCloud Drive could be accessed from Mac, iOS devices or even PC’s (as shown by the iCloud Drive preview page). However, a new setup screen present in iOS 8 beta 3, released earlier today, shows that Apple is also planning to expose iCloud Drive on the web. Although people were surprised by native PC support, bringing iCloud Drive to the web enables even more flexibility, bridging any OS with a modern web browser.

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Apple to wipe all CloudKit data on July 7th, including iCloud Photos, Drive & Mail Drop for iOS 8 and Yosemite

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Apple has just informed developers that it will be wiping all CloudKit-based data stores on July 7th. This includes iCloud Photo Library, Mail Drop and iCloud Drive. Apple warned developers that this might happen with the release of the first iOS beta and it is not uncommon for wipes to happen several times during iOS and OS X beta cycles.

Dear Developer,

We will be performing a server-side data wipe on all CloudKit public and private databases for iOS 8 beta and OS X Yosemite Developer Preview users on July 7, 2014. The following iCloud features will be affected: iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library, and Mail Drop.

Photos and videos stored in iCloud Photo Library will remain on their original iOS 8 devices and will upload to iCloud Photo Library again automatically. iCloud Drive can be re-enabled from Set up Assistant after upgrade. If you choose to store your documents in iCloud Drive, your Documents & Data will automatically be copied to iCloud Drive. iCloud Drive will not update across earlier seeds or operating systems. Attachments sent through Mail Drop will expire and need to be resent after you upgrade.

If you have any questions, visit the Apple Developer Forums.

Best regards,
Apple Developer Technical Support

Affected files for Mail Drop and iCloud Drive will not transfer across automatically on the release of the next beta seed. Photos and videos will automatically restore, however, as they are not deleted from local storage. It is likely that new seeds of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite will follow this data wipe, as new seeds of these operating systems are already due.

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Apple finally brings two-factor authentication to iCloud website (updated)

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It appears Apple has started rolling out support for two-factor authentication on its iCloud.com website. The feature initially rolled out to the Apple ID management website in the United States and then in several other countries soon after.

Under the new setup on iCloud.com, users can only access Find My iPhone without verifying their identities. Mail, Contacts, and other “apps” require you to enter a passcode that can be texted to any phone number or sent to the Find My iPhone app on properly configured devices.

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Apple to replace Aperture and iPhoto with Photos for OS X early next year

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Apple has told 9to5Mac that that the company will be ceasing development of Aperture and iPhoto, offering Photos for OS X as a replacement, which was first shown at WWDC.

With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture. When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS X.

Apple says libraries will be able to migrate across to the new application when the application ships. Apple is working with Adobe to offer a upgrade path to Lightroom. As noted by TechCrunch, Apple will offer a Yosemite compatibility update for Aperture, but otherwise development has ended.

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