Apple on Monday announced plans to increase users’ privacy and keep their data out of the reach of other companies, adding features including expanded video conferencing and storing virtual government ID cards on iPhones.
The changes come at Apple’s annual global conference for software developers, some of whom have complained about the company’s control over the apps that can appear on its devices, as well as its 15-30 percent commission on digital sales.
Many of the new features allow users to protect data, as well as to take a photocopy of their identity cards in participating US states and encrypt them in the user’s digital wallet, as well as credit cards and transit cards in some American cities. The company is working with the US Transportation Security Administration to accept digital ID cards at airports.
In many cases, Apple itself cannot see the information. The company updated the paid version of the storage service (iCloud) to include a service that blocks the user’s browsing habits, even from Apple. Another feature of iCloud will allow users to hide their real email addresses.
Apple said that the price of iCloud will not change with the addition of new features.
Apple has also modified some of its apps and services in a way that may increase its competition with Zoom, a subsidiary of Zoom Video Communications, and Microsoft’s Teams. The use of the two apps has increased sharply during the pandemic.
Apple has updated its FaceTime video chat app to allow arranging calls with more than one person and make the software compatible with Android and Windows devices.