Apple says it’ll change how it collects data on the MacOS apps you launch


Protect Your Access to the Internet


Apple says it has committed to creating an encryption protocol to transmit the app launch data safely. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Apple said Monday it’ll change the way it logs data from your Mac about the apps you launch. Cybersecurity experts pointed out Thursday that a security feature was sending the information to Apple along with your IP address, which effectively ties data about the apps you use to your location. The data was also transmitted to Apple over the internet without any encryption, meaning that it’d be easy for a third party to intercept and read.

The result of the data collection, security blogger Jeffrey Paul wrote, is that “you simply can’t power on your computer, launch a text editor or eBook reader, and write or read, without a log of your activity being transmitted and stored.”

While the data collection was happening in previous versions of MacOS, Paul found that the tools some tech-savvy iMac and MacBook owners used to stop the data collection no longer work on computers running the latest version, Big Sur. Apple released the new operating system to the public on Thursday.

Additionally, Apple’s collection of IP addresses can no longer be defeated with a VPN, a service that masks your location with a proxy IP address. That’s because the security feature (and some other Apple services) can circumvent VPNs on devices running the Big Sur operating system, according to security researchers who focus on Apple products, collecting users’ true IP addresses instead.

Now, Apple says it has stopped logging user IP addresses collected by the feature, and will delete previous logs of IP addresses. Without IP addresses, there’s far less danger that records of app…