iOS 8’s One More Thing: It Prevents Apple from Complying With Search Warrants

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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple knows nobody read the new terms and conditions while they were installing iOS 8, so on Wednesday night they announced an important new feature we missed: Apple has changed the way its encryption works to make it technically impossible for the company to access customers’ data — even if police obtain a search warrant. Apple used to be able to unlock some data stored on iPhones and iPads, but now it won’t be able to access information like photos, email, messages, contacts, and call history. Now no one can obtain evidence of your nefarious deeds without your consent … as long you run the latest operating system, keep everything out of the cloud, and choose a passcode that isn’t your birthday.

Apple also launched a new privacy website that explains how the company uses your data and how to stop sharing certain information, along with its latest transparency reports. It starts with an open letter from Tim Cook, in which the Apple CEO takes a few jabs at competitors.

A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.

Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.

So the next time your racy selfies end up online and you realize the NSA is spying on you, don’t come crying to Apple.