Apple Makes User Privacy A Focal Point As Microsoft Battles Windows 10 Backlash

As our online and offline lives become increasingly intertwined, it's important to know what level of privacy various products and services offer. That hasn't always been easy to figure out, and in many instances it still isn't, though companies are making a concerted effort to put their customers' minds at ease. That includes Apple, which updated its privacy site with new information about iOS 9 and some of its features.

Apple's overarching message is "we build privacy into everything we make." The pitch is that Apple's disinterested in your personal information, and whether "you pay for groceries, message a friend, track a workout, or share a photo, you shouldn't have to worry about your information falling into the wrong hands."

There are few digs at the competition on Apple's privacy site. One of them is found in the iCloud section. Apple points out that while other companies find it fine to mine your cloud data or email to serve up targeted ads, Apple doesn't. That's a clear shot at Google, and so is Apple's explanation of how its Maps app behaves.

Apple Store

"Other companies try to build a profile about you using a complete history of everywhere you've been, usually because they're targeting you for advertisers. Since our business doesn't depend on advertising, we have no interest in doing this -- and we couldn't even if we wanted to," Apple explains.

One of the new features of iOS 9 is the addition of a News app. It analyzes your reading activity to deliver headlines that are more likely to be of interest, which could be a red flag for anyone concerned with privacy. But according to Apple, it doesn't link your reading activity to other services. In addition, the information it collects about the articles you read is linked an anonymous, News-specific identifier, which you can reset whenever you want.

Apple is just one of many companies trying to sell users on the idea that their privacy is safe. Just yesterday, Microsoft's Terry Myerson posted an official response to the ongoing privacy concerns related to Windows 10, and like Apple, Google has a page dedicated to explaining privacy policies in plain English language.

It's a lot to digest for someone who uses multiple services, but if you're concerned about privacy, consider it all required reading.