More privacy issues – this time from Apple

Seems Apple has opened another can of worms. This time it is a privacy issue. Apple’s latest operating systems, OS X Yosemite for laptops and iOS 8 for their gadgets, both transmit your search terms back to Apple [and Microsoft!] by default.

If you use the Safari browser [does anyone really use it?], Apple not only knows what you did search for, but they can also see what you were thinking before you ever submitted your request.

If you type in the Spotlight box OS X Yosemite or iOS 8, it will cause your search terms to go to Apple, Microsoft’s Bing, and whatever search engine you have selected. They request goes to Apple so that you can see results from Apple properties and then the request is sent to Bing as a way of getting you quick, relevant search results based on partial queries. Once you press the Enter key, whatever you have is sent to the search engine you choose.

If you have Location Services enabled, it will transmit your location along with your search terms.

To turn off Spotlight search queries:

  • OS X: Deselect the checkboxes for Spotlight Suggestions and the Bing Web Searches in the Search Results pane of Spotlight preferences in System Preferences. [With them disabled Spotlight will search the contents of only your Mac.] There is also a third one in Safari’s preferences where “Include Spotlight Suggestions” will also invoke this behavior.
  • iOS8: Similar preferences have to be checked: General, Spotlight Search, Spotlight Suggestions, and Bing Web Results needs to be unchecked. The third option is harder to get to – in Privacy, Location Services – scroll all the way to the end to System Services and turn off many options like Spotlight Suggestions.

Some are suggesting that while Apple seems to champion privacy issues, they don’t think that this is a major concern. But others do.

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About ebraiter
computer guy

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