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Apple in the iOS 15.2 beta introduced App Privacy Report, a feature that was first shown off at WWDC. App Privacy Report is designed to provide users with information on how often apps are accessing sensitive info provided to them through privacy permissions, such as location, contacts, camera, microphone, and photos.

App-Privacy-Feature-2.jpg

Apple also displays network activity, letting you know which domains apps are contacting in the background.

How to Turn on App Privacy Report

App Privacy Report can be enabled in the Settings app by following these instructions.
  1. Open up the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Privacy.
  3. In the Privacy section of the Settings app, scroll down and tap on App Privacy Report.
    app-privacy-report-turn-on.jpg
  4. Tap on Turn on App Privacy Report.
If you already had "Record App Activity" enabled in the iOS 15/iOS 15.1 updates, App Privacy Report will be automatically on and it will already be populated with data. If you did not, you may need to use apps and websites for a few minutes before you start seeing data.

Using App Privacy Report

Apple shows data from the last seven days, and the app is split up into several sections to make it easier to get to what you want to know.

app-privacy-report-camera.jpg

Data & Sensor Access

In this section, Apple provides a list of apps that have accessed sensors and data granted to them through privacy permissions, so your most sensitive information.

app-privacy-report-data.jpg

Data & Sensor access will tell you when apps have accessed the following:
  • Contacts
  • Location
  • Photos
  • Camera
  • Microphone
  • Media Library
If you tap on an individual app and then tap on the permission that you want to view more about, App Privacy Report will give you a list of every time the app accessed the data in question.

App Network Activity

With App Network Activity, you can view a list of all of the different domains that your apps have contacted across the last seven days.

app-privacy-report-app-network.jpg

This includes various internal domains used by apps, but it also lets you see what third-party websites and services are accessed, such as tracking or analytics tools.

You can tap on any app in the list to see a rundown of all of the domains that have been contacted. If you have Instagram installed, for example, you'll see URLs for things like DoubleClock, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and more, along with internal Instagram and Facebook URLs.

At the bottom of each app's data, you can also get a list of the web sites that you visited within the app.

Website Network Activity

Website Network Activity is basically identical to App Network Activity, but it shows you all of the domains contacted by the websites that you visited in Safari and other apps.

app-privacy-report-website-network-activity.jpg

This will show you all of the different trackers and analytics sites that websites are using.

Most Contacted Domains

Most Contacted Domains is an aggregated list of the domains that apps have contacted most often, and it is usually populated by various trackers and analytics domains.

app-privacy-report-contacted-domains.jpg

In this section, you can tap on any of the domains in the list to see which apps or websites used that particular domain.

How to Turn Off App Privacy Report

If you don't want to use App Privacy Report, you can follow these steps:
  1. Open up the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Privacy.
  3. In the Privacy section of the Settings app, scroll down and tap on App Privacy Report.
  4. Tap on Turn Off App Privacy Report.
Note that turning off App Privacy Report will delete all collected data. Once it's turned on again, Apple will again begin aggregating data from apps.

Guide Feedback

Have questions about App Privacy Report, know of a feature we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Article Link: How to Use App Privacy Report in the iOS 15.2 Beta
 
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Tofupunch

macrumors 6502
Dec 4, 2014
261
213
I tried using this when I first upgrade to iOS 15 but when it came time to checking the data, I had to export it. I didn’t know what application to open it with. And it looked like a bunch of garbled code. Did I do something wrong?
 
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Populus

macrumors 68020
Aug 24, 2012
2,282
2,702
Valencia, Spain.
I tried using this when I first upgrade to iOS 15 but when it came time to checking the data, I had to export it. I didn’t know what application to open it with. And it looked like a bunch of garbled code. Did I do something wrong?
Maybe the issue was that this feature hasn’t really been working until iOS 15.2, which is now in beta.
 
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owidhh

macrumors member
Jun 12, 2021
47
47
I tried using this when I first upgrade to iOS 15 but when it came time to checking the data, I had to export it. I didn’t know what application to open it with. And it looked like a bunch of garbled code. Did I do something wrong?
It's in a format called "json" which is the predominant format for exchanging data, can be read by many applications etc. But it's just data.

Now in 15.2, it seems like Apple added functionality that reads this same data and presents it in the GUI, so the set of features is evolving/improving.
 

BWhaler

macrumors 68040
Jan 8, 2003
3,417
4,980
Great feature. Thank you Apple.

Next release, please give us:

1. iCloud full encryption
2. IP filtering for apps, not just Safari and Mail
3. Make it impossible for Facebook and Google and the other dark data mining companies to fingerprint our devices.
 

zorinlynx

macrumors 604
May 31, 2007
7,014
12,584
Florida, USA
Holy crap, this is astounding. Aside from the privacy benefits, I can see this being good for helping people track down unusual battery drain. If there's stuff hitting the network in the background that would explain it for a lot of people.

I'm tempted to hop back on the beta train to try this, but will probably wait until b2.
 

SteveJUAE

macrumors 68040
Aug 14, 2015
3,718
3,780
Land of Smiles
I wonder if the average user can get say a daily digest how much this will influence App purchase/renewals etc

As a slight negative I can see this as a get out of jail free card for Apple if they have enabled the user to verify their own privacy data mining extents etc etc

Interesting to see what spins off from this enablement
 

Cosmosent

macrumors 68020
Apr 20, 2016
2,117
2,417
La Jolla, CA
The timing of this just hit me !

AAPL reports AFTER the Bell tomorrow !

Snap, FB, TWTR, & others have JUST Reported !

Some of those companies are going to take a BIG hit tomorrow morning !

Probably NOT TWTR, but some of the others will.

And, Tim will be able to tout how Apple is helping its customers with Privacy tomorrow afternoon !

This is BIG !

BIGGER than I initially thought ... we live in exciting times !
 

DeepIn2U

macrumors G4
May 30, 2002
10,075
4,290
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Hey, Juli, I wholeheartedly appreciate all this posts explaining this new privacy focused feature.
As I already said on another post, this will probably make me jump to iOS 15, as I don’t quite trust the Privacy sheets on the App Store. This -I assume- is much more reliable.

Thank you!
Agreed and I second the thanks to Juli the editor.

Now ... who's got this beta and still uses FaceBook heavily and is brave enough to show us all the naughty bits of that app and what it's doing?! Instagram, WhatsApp?

Please!!
 
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owidhh

macrumors member
Jun 12, 2021
47
47
So does it reveal when photos are being scanned in iCloud?

As much as I'm against the whole thing, I dislike when the arguments made against it are incorrect or imprecise. It dilutes or weakens the position.

So, first, this new App Privacy Report -- is about what happens on your device, which means it won't be able to reveal anything about what happens in iCloud

Two, you and the others probably mean something about photos scanned locally when they are set to be uploaded to iCloud, which this tool probably won't report on but it's already know about when they are being scanned -- when iCloud photos is enabled.......
 

NightFox

macrumors 68030
May 10, 2005
2,689
2,898
Shropshire, UK
A good feature, but I think people are overestimating its impact. the vast majority of iPhone users either aren't going to know this feature exists or won't ever use it. Then there's the 'little knowledge is a dangerous thing' - does anyone remember when custom keyboard apps were first allowed and the panic the system access requests caused? It's not always readily apparent when an app legitimately needs access to a resource to work properly.
 
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