After the launch of the iPhone 15, the iOS 17 system was officially updated. However, some iPhone users have recently reported that their privacy settings were automatically reset after upgrading to iOS 17.
On September 24, 9to5Mac reported that two iOS developers discovered that after upgrading to iOS 17, the "Significant Locations" and "iPhone Analytics" options in the "Settings" were automatically enabled without notifying the users.
A representative from Apple stated that they are investigating the issue, suggesting it might be due to a bug.
Enhanced Privacy on iOS 17 Apple reiterated its commitment to user privacy. For instance, the new Live Voicemail feature in iOS 17 offers real-time voice transcription. When someone calls and starts leaving a voicemail, the message is transcribed in real-time, allowing users to decide whether to answer the call based on the transcription. Apple emphasized that this feature is processed entirely on the device and is not uploaded to the cloud. However, this feature is not yet available in mainland China.
Another feature, "Safe Arrival," has been well-received by some social media users in China. Available in the "Messages" app, once a destination is set, the system automatically detects if the user has arrived and notifies selected contacts via a message. If the user doesn't respond to system prompts, it will share useful information with the chosen contacts, such as the device's exact location, remaining battery life, cellular network status, and the last time the user accessed their iPhone.
The "Sensitive Content Alert" is another new feature available to Chinese users. Once enabled, it alerts users when they receive explicit images through the Messages app, AirDrop, FaceTime, and Contact Poster. Tests by Interface News found that this feature is turned off by default, requiring users to manually enable it. Parents can also activate this feature for their children's accounts through the Family Sharing plan.
Previously, Apple introduced advanced data protection for iCloud in iOS 16. With it enabled, the number of apps protected by end-to-end encryption increased from 14 to 23, including iCloud backups, Photos, Notes, and Voice Memos.
Now, Apple has rolled out an even more robust data protection feature, described officially as "extreme" - the "Lockdown Mode." When activated, certain functionalities on the user's device are disabled. For instance, users won't receive calls or messages from unknown numbers and can't initiate contact with unfamiliar numbers. An Apple representative emphasized that this feature is designed for a very small number of individual users who, due to their identity or profession, might be targeted by sophisticated digital threats. Most people will never be the target of such attacks.
From a user's perspective, understanding these privacy features might require some technical knowledge. Users need to comprehend, and in some cases, read detailed instructions to decide whether to enable them. Apple stated that most of its privacy protections operate in the background. For example, when an app requests access to photos or location, a prompt automatically appears for user approval. However, when enabling advanced features like high-level data protection, users must take responsibility. If they lose their data protection key, Apple can't help recover it.
Such an approach might sacrifice some user experience. But for a company facing strict global regulations, meticulously informing users and letting them decide whether to enable or disable features might be the safest approach.