Apple's WWDC event debuted plenty of software updates, but one major one is worth highlighting: The Safari browser is about to become a lot more secure.
Changes are coming to Safari to ensure your private browser stays private by locking your browser tab if you step away from your laptop. Plus, more third-party trackers will be blocked from scooping up your data.
Other Apple privacy updates include fingerprinting protections and better password management features. Here's what to know.
Private Browsing Will Lock When Users Are Away
Some of the Safari updates will be invisible to the average user: These include “advanced tracking and fingerprinting protections” that will keep up with “the latest techniques to track or identify a user’s device” and can prevent websites from using them.
But one noticeable change is the one arriving to the Private Browsing mode:
“Private Browsing now locks when not in use, allowing a user to keep tabs open even when stepping away from the device.” –Apple Newsroom
Users will have to use Touch ID or their password in order to get back access to their private tabs.
These new features are “coming in free software updates this fall,” Apple says. They'll likely arrive by September, when Apple's new hardware typically debuts.
Other New Privacy and Security Features
When the updates arrive, Apple users will be able to share their passwords with entire groups, a functionality that allows everyone to stay in the loop (and secure) even while using shared accounts.
Here's how Apple explains this update:
“For easier and more secure password and passkey sharing, users can create a group to share a set of passwords, and everyone in the group can add and edit passwords to keep them up to date. Since sharing is through iCloud Keychain, it is end-to-end encrypted.”
Apple also notes that one-time verification codes sent through Mail will soon autofill for users who have Safari, for faster logins.
Apple's “lockdown mode” is also getting updates, with a list of new functions that includes better wireless connectivity defaults and improved media sharing defaults as well as sandboxing and some network security optimizations.
Staying Safe Online
These new tools and software improvements are just the latest signal that the popular tech giant is doubling down on its stated mission to improve data security and user privacy in an era when plenty of tech companies are making headlines for failing to do just that.
It's working: Apple currently has a mind-boggling $2.88 trillion market cap. While we'd still recommend some caution about praising Apple's approach to data privacy, these new updates can do a lot to prevent unwanted data collection from third-party actors.