iOS 9 biggest mistake: too much privacy

Google Now is Android’s golden arrow, the contextual awareness and on demand information system works like nothing else on the market. Sure, it kind of works on iOS but Android is where it really shines – given free reign of the operating system, and of course all your data to swallow. Granted a certain level of privacy must be given up as a trade off for an in-depth learning system such as this – but Apple seem to think with the updates it is bringing in iOS 9 that it can provide a competing contextual awareness system without even knowing who you are.

With regret it’s likely that we wouldn’t even be having such deep conversations about privacy had Mr. Snowden not decided to keep quiet any longer. With security and privacy on the tips of every journalist tongue some companies have taken it upon themselves to step up and protect the privacy of their customers.

For right or wrong reasons those such as Apple, and to a certain extent Google have pushed for a more secure world – where your information is safe from interception at least. Providing encrypted communication through services such as iMessage and Google Hangouts to ensure only the people you want are receiving your messages – other than the company running the services.


That’s the very issue, you now may have a slightly less chance of your information ending up in an NSA server, but several companies are well aware of all your data. Information about your location, search history, social network activity and even fitness data all ‘safely’ transferred and stored by a business with a bottom line to support. Users must weigh up the pro and cons and decide if the trade off in privacy is worth the benefit – but Apple seem to think they can do it all without the cons. The question is why and how exactly?

Pro Active Siri

Privacy and security has been very high on Apples agenda of late, choosing to take swipes at Google at almost every opportunity it is almost become a marketing angle to win over users. The fact remains a contextual awareness and a ‘pro active’ Siri is useless without half the information users need it to surface. The data is not tied into to your iTunes or device ID, so cant be synced across devices. Which presumably means each time you switch devices, have to restore an iPhone or use another Apple product instead – it must relearn everything again.


Granted wiping and switching devices might be much less of an issue compared to Android users, but learning should be a permanent thing shouldn’t it? Not syncing across devices or backing up the data gained is a massive mistake, and frankly one that is completely possible. Apple manage to at least somewhat securely sync passwords and even credit card details through iCloud, so why not the information users choose to provide to them? With inability out of the question, the only prevention must be one of choice – what exactly do they gain from not providing an iCloud sync?

When visitors to websites can be tracked by simply their battery meter readings there is zero reason to pretend that Apple has no idea about your information. So with inability and improbability out of the way we are left with nothing. A conscious decision to not provide a fully fledged contextual aware system seems nothing more than a marketing move. The systems introduced in iOS 9 are already very good, but it is Apple preventing them from being great – what we have at the moment is a slightly better Siri based searching and minimal context.



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Greg Morris

Outspoken and sometimes controversial technology evangelist. Disabled technology inclusion preacher and marathon runner - my free time is extremely limited!