Is It Safe to Use Health-Tracking Apps? That's the Focus of Apple's Latest Ad Campaign

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Apple has taken large pains successful the past to stress its stance connected privacy. And successful its newest advertisement campaign, the tech institution is spotlighting however it protects information collected done the company's Health app and HealthKit specifically.

The run comes astatine a clip erstwhile galore radical are much acrophobic with the privateness of their wellness information than ever before. After the overturn of Roe v. Wade 11 period ago, galore radical began questioning however acold anti-abortion states would go, and wondering if period-tracking apps could beryllium utilized to prosecute radical who sought retired abortions. While it sounded acold fetched, successful Aug. 2022, a 17-year-old and her parent were arrested aft a hunt warrant allowed constabulary to work the teen's Facebook DMs, which contained accusation astir an alleged self-managed abortion. She pled blameworthy to related charges successful May 2023; her mother's proceedings is ongoing.

Apple's run doesn't explicitly notation the Dobbs decision, oregon springiness excessively overmuch attraction to its Cycle Tracking feature successful particular. But it does accent however overmuch power users person implicit who gets to spot their backstage wellness accusation — and however small Apple is capable to see.

"We're peculiarly attentive to privateness issues erstwhile it comes to health," Katie Skinner, a person connected Apple's Privacy Engineering team, tells POPSUGAR.

"We judge our users should expect the aforesaid confidentiality from their exertion arsenic they bash from their doctor. I'm a doc myself, and I cognize conscionable however delicate immoderate conversations are. Patients are telling maine accusation that sometimes they've ne'er told anyone else. And they bash that due to the fact that they're assured successful the privateness of our conversation," adds Lauren Cheung, MD-MBA, a elder manager connected the Clinical squad astatine Apple. "We judge our users should person that aforesaid benignant of spot for the devices they're utilizing each day. As we make wellness features, we judge you should determine what you privation to stock and who you privation to stock it with, and you should person the quality to halt sharing that accusation astatine immoderate time."

The institution reiterated conscionable however important privateness is successful an advertisement released connected May 24 which humorously shows a waiting country afloat of radical reacting portion their astir idiosyncratic wellness complaints and habits — from hemorrhoids and nighttime sweats to measurement counts and manus washing frequence — are broadcast aloud, narrated by Jane Lynch.

Skinner outlines the large ways Apple protects users wellness data, which are besides elaborate successful a achromatic paper released by the tech institution connected May 24. For starters, erstwhile your iPhone is locked via a passcode, Touch ID, oregon Face ID, each Health app information is encrypted, Skinner explains. Data backed up to the iCloud is encrypted successful transit, and erstwhile it's connected the cloud.

A 2nd method of extortion is that users indispensable assistance explicit support to stock Health app oregon HealthKit information — and what types of information they stock — with third-party apps.

The quality of third-party apps to work and constitute backstage accusation from your telephone is of large interest to galore smartphone users, and has been a taxable of past Apple privateness campaigns. In this caller campaign, Apple emphasizes that it requires third-party apps that petition to work oregon constitute Health app information to usage that information for wellness oregon fittingness purposes, and to ne'er usage it for advertising, oregon merchantability it to information brokers.

And earlier downloading immoderate app, Skinner advises radical to "look astatine the Privacy Nutrition Label, which gives them large accusation astir what information is collected by that app, if it's linked to them, utilized for tracking, etc., to assistance marque the determination of bash they privation to stock accusation with that app."

Skinner besides points people to the tips successful the iPhone idiosyncratic guide that outline however users tin reappraisal and fastener down their privacy.

When asked what this each means for providing subpoenaed wellness information — accidental rhythm tracking info — Skinner reiterated Apple's committedness to privacy, utilizing highly-protected encryption. "This wellness information is stored encrypted connected the device, and erstwhile it's sent to iCloud, it is end-to-end encrypted with a default two-factor authentication and a passcode," she says. "What that means is it's backed up successful a mode that Apple cannot work it. So lone you tin decrypt and entree your accusation and lone connected trusted devices wherever you are signed successful with your Apple ID. No 1 else, not adjacent Apple tin entree this end-to-end encrypted data."

So they wouldn't beryllium capable to supply your information? "I'm an engineer, not a lawyer," Skinner says. "But arsenic we've described, Apple cannot work user's wellness information erstwhile they person default two-factor authentication and a passcode, due to the fact that this information successful iCloud is end-to-end encrypted crossed devices." A afloat 95 percent of iCloud users person two-factor authentication enabled.

It's not an unequivocal statement. But David Reischer, an lawyer and the CEO of, who's not affiliated with Apple, says, "My sentiment is that it would beryllium improbable that Apple would comply with specified a subpoena, absent a judicial determination that demanded compliance and specified a lawsuit that went each the mode up to the Supreme Court affirming a company's work to comply with specified a section instrumentality oregon constabulary powerfulness requesting specified data."

See Apple's latest ad, narrated by Jane Lynch, here.

Image Source: Courtesy of Apple

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