Apple just gave users a brilliant security reason to choose its own ecosystem over its rival Google.

Apple has been making a number of brilliant security and privacy moves over the last few weeks. The iPhone maker’s soon-to-launch iOS 14.5 update includes a way to open your phone using your Apple Watch while wearing a mask, and the bold new anti-tracking feature that will heavily impact the likes of Facebook.

Now, Apple is effectively taking a swipe at another of its rivals, Google, with a massive update to the Apple Platform Security guide as well as a refresh to its landing page. Apple’s Platform Security guide—which has grown by a whopping 39 pages to 196—covers new security features in iOS 14, macOS 11 Big Sur, Apple Silicon Macs and watchOS 7. 

It comes after Apple launched ARM-based M1 chips on its new Macs last year. This marked a move away from the Intel chips in use in Macs since 2006 to an architecture Apple has been able to build security into, including a Secure Enclave that manages Touch ID.

However, it’s important to note that Macs are still not immune from malware. Last week I reported how Apple security researcher Patrick Wardle has discovered malware (adware) designed specifically for M1-based Macs.

Apple’s walled garden

The Platform Security guide update shows just how much security Apple has baked into its products over the last year. Compared to rivals such as Google, which, for example, makes Android phones in partnership with manufacturers, Apple owns its entire ecosystem of hardware, software and services. That is how its approach has earned the label of “walled garden.”

The Platform Security Guide reads: “Every Apple device combines hardware, software, and services designed to work together for maximum security and a transparent user experience in service of the ultimate goal of keeping personal information safe…Apple devices protect not only the device and its data but the entire ecosystem, including everything users do locally, on networks, and with key internet services.”

Apple focused site 9to5Mac has listed all the new topics added and updated in the latest Apple Platform Security guide.

At the same time, Apple has launched a new Security Certifications and Compliance Center as a 50-page in-depth resource covering hardware, software, operating systems and services. 

How Apple’s approach benefits everyone

Security experts are impressed by the iPhone maker’s new move. “Security has become an important part of our everyday lives, so it is really encouraging to see companies such as Apple including this in mainstream, consumer grade products,” says Sean Wright, application security SME lead at Immersive Labs. “While security and privacy are separate things, they are closely linked and go hand in hand in many cases.”

Jake Moore cybersecurity specialist at ESET concurs. “Apple is clearly trying to differentiate itself by looking after people’s privacy and security. They are leaving other big tech firms behind, but no doubt those others will pick up the pieces once they realise this is what users actually want and need.”

I agree. Apple is offering a laudable approach to privacy and security and while others such as Google can’t yet replicate the exact ecosystem, they are already taking steps to improve privacy and security. Bloomberg reports that Google is even considering a new anti-tracking feature for its Android operating system. 

No doubt Apple will continue to promote its security and privacy credentials, and new features are being added all the time. With these brilliant new moves, the iPhone maker is simply listening to what users want, and as its competitors try to do the same, it really is a win-win.



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