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iOS 18 includes these new privacy features: Lock and hide apps, improved contact permissions, more – 9to5Mac



Today at WWDC 2024, Apple introduced a slew of new iPhone features that will be available on all compatible devices later this Fall. While Apple Intelligence and enhanced customization were among the most heavily showcased, the next iteration of iOS will also introduce some nice new privacy features, including improved Contacts permissions, the ability to lock and hide apps, Private Cloud Compute, a standalone Passwords app, and more.

Private Cloud Compute

Apple Intelligence (AI) is Apple’s entry into the hottest emerging trend of 2024: artificial intelligence (AI). See what they did there? Apple Intelligence consists of a suite of features aimed at being powerful, intuitive, integrated, personal, and private.

Even today, iPhone, iPad, and Mac aren’t powerful enough to support all the AI models users need locally. So Apple Intelligence does something rather clever. Whenever you use a feature like Siri in iOS 18, it will use a combination of on-device and server-based generative AI models to handle requests. Anything outside of Siri’s knowledge is picked up and handled securely in the cloud.

This process is called Private Cloud Compute.

“When a user makes a request, Apple Intelligence analyzes whether it can be processed on device. If it needs greater computational capacity, it can draw on Private Cloud Compute, which will send only the data that is relevant to the task to be processed on Apple silicon servers. When requests are routed to Private Cloud Compute, data is not stored or made accessible to Apple, and is only used to fulfill the user’s requests.”

More lower-level details on how it works here.

Lock and hide apps

In iOS 18, Apple took a note from the Photos app and now allows users to lock or hide any application on the home screen. The app will remain hidden everywhere except for an area in Settings and a hidden apps folder, which both require Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode to open.

Hide and lock apps in iOS 18 iPhone
Press and hold to hide and/or require face ID.

Apple claims this allows users to safeguard sensitive content from accidental exposure when sharing their devices or showing their screens to others.

“We relentlessly deliver on our commitment to give users the strongest and most innovative privacy protections,” says Erik Neuenschwander, Apple’s director of User Privacy, in a press release today. “This year is no exception, and the ability to lock and hide apps is just one example of Apple helping users remain in control of their information, even when they are sharing their devices with others.”

Here’s how it works:

  1. Press and hold on any app
  2. Select Require Face ID
  3. Then choose between Require Face ID or Hide and Require Face ID
  4. The latter will remove the app from your home screen altogether and place it in a hidden apps folder at the bottom of your last apps page

Taking yet another note from the Photos app, which allows users to select individual photos to share over an entire library, Apple has added the ability to pick and choose which contacts to share with an app. Before iOS 18, a user only had two options: giving an app full access to all their contacts or no access at all.

Passwords app

In previous versions of iOS, Apple provided its built-in Keychain password manager tool hidden within the Settings app. It allowed for passwords to be automatically generated and saved in the Passwords section, but it can often be a cumbersome task when a user needs to manage particular logins.

Apple Passwords app iOS 18
Apple Passwords app unveiled at WWDC 2024.

Now, in iOS 18, passwords have a dedicated app called Passwords. Apple hopes this change will make password management more convenient for its users. Similar to 1Password, stored passwords can be accessed from any signed-in Apple device. You can even access your stored passwords on Windows via the iCloud for Windows app. Passwords will also come with some rather competitive features.

“Building on the foundation of Keychain, which Apple first introduced more than 25 years ago, the new Passwords app makes it easy for users to access account passwords, passkeys, Wi-Fi passwords, and two-factor authentication codes stored securely in Keychain. The app also includes alerts for users regarding common weaknesses, such as passwords that can be easily guessed, have been used multiple times, or have appeared in known data leaks,” according to Apple.

Hands-on: Here’s the new Passwords app in iOS 18


Accessory Setup Kit enables developers to create a user-friendly method for pairing accessories. Apple says this ensures that apps cannot access information about other devices on the user’s network, maintaining privacy while making the pairing process smooth and seamless.

Accessory Setup Kit ios 18
Example of a prompt developers can enable so that not all users’ accessories are seen by an app.

Additional new features that Apple claims are built with privacy by design.

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