How Apple is Changing the Way Big Tech Views Consumer Privacy

Opening consumer's eyes

Key Takeaways

  • Apple has implemented a multitude of privacy-focused features on its devices, which has proven to be a benefit for many users.
  • Apple’s updated privacy features have led to more tech companies tackling privacy issues, thus exponentially expanding the options users have.
  • While some call the push for privacy a marketing tactic, there’s no denying the real effect that it has had on the entire tech world.
A MacBook computer sitting on someone's bed.

Gerson Repreza / Unspalsh

Whether you chalk it up to market-speak or actually caring about the customer, Apple’s push for better consumer privacy features is a huge win for consumers in all areas of tech.

In the past two years, the push for consumer privacy has taken a significant turn, with companies like Apple paving the way by offering better, stronger options for consumers. Features like App Tracking Transparency, mail privacy, and the private relay system are all great examples of how Apple is working to make consumer privacy a heavy focus across all of its devices.

This push, experts say, is significant because it forces other tech companies to follow suit or risk falling behind in consumer opinion.

"Where Apple goes, the rest of the industry follows," Eric Florence, a cybersecurity analyst with SecurityTech, explained in an email. “Apple might not be the first or always the best at what they do, but they are always the ones who get the most attention. Now that Apple is tackling privacy issues, other companies will be forced to do the same. They will follow Apple's lead or else customers will notice.”

Breaking Through the Noise

Although consumer privacy is just now becoming a big deal among the general populace, studies are already showing that Apple’s moves are gaining customer trust. According to a survey from Axway, 74% of Americans think that Apple and others should block advertisers from tracking their activity and web preferences. 

"Now that Apple is tackling privacy issues, other companies will be forced to do the same. They will follow Apple's lead or else customers will notice.”

This is the primary benefit of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency, and Google has followed through with similar ad-tracking options that allow users to opt-out of personalized ads. Of course, there is a downside to it. Since companies like Google primarily make their revenue off selling ad profiles to advertisers, there has been pushback against the move. 

However, Shawn Ryan, the vice president of vision and strategy in the office of the chief technology and innovation officer at Axway, says that’s the cost for putting the customer first.

"Apple’s decision is disruptive, yes, but we can also look at it as forcing good decisions about communicating user data. And that is good for building trust, creating a more positive experience for consumers," he explained.

Building trust with consumers is crucial when you live in a world where it feels like advertisers are always watching and listening to you. While this isn’t necessarily the case, the amount of data that advertisers can track freely is extremely important to address. Yes, it could lead to some major changes in how ads work, but better consumer privacy should be a goal for all tech companies in the end.

Building a Legacy

It is important to note that Apple isn’t the only one pushing privacy, but it is a leader in the field. While the company was one of the first to start putting the amount of consumer data being gathered front and center, others have done their part to help enhance consumers’ systems. 

The App Privacy Report as it appears on an iPhone

Apple

Google helped create the idea of a privacy report card, which showcases how data is being used by apps and other content on your phone and lets you see which apps you need to control better. Private email addresses also have offered similar email hiding systems to the new Mail Privacy feature coming to iOS 15. The reason that Apple’s involvement is significant, though, is because the company has such control of the technology marketplace.

Apple reported over 1 billion active iPhones in the world near the start of 2021. Sure, that’s under the 2.5 billion Android phones that Google announced in 2017. But that makes Apple’s iOS the second-largest phone operating system on the planet and one that many rely on daily because of Apple’s stance towards privacy.

"The features that Apple is introducing are major and welcome, but the thought and meaning behind them means even more because it will push the entire phone market in a new, safer direction," Florence told us.

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