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With new personalised cloud features rolling out in iOS9, it might initially seem that the new smartphones and tablets may be continuously monitoring what you do, which is a serious breach in a person’s privacy. But guess what, the tech giant has today answered a few of the questions that were raised against the new features that include ‘Hey Siri’ and Live Photo.

At first glance, Live Photo is simply a normal picture but if you ‘force touch’ on this seemingly random snap, you will get motion and sound. That’s right, the photo will move, 1.5 seconds before the image was taken and 1.5 seconds after. This might seem alright, but speculating the issue deeper, you’ll realize that to take pictures that way, the camera will have to continuously be taking in your surroundings.

Apple, regarding the issue, stated that Live Photos are treated almost exactly like any other photo shot on an iPhone, which indicates that they’re encrypted, both at rest and in transit to iCloud.

That’s not all, the company says that though the camera will be continuously peeking in, once you switch the app on, no data will be sent to the cloud unless you press the shutter button in the Live Photo mode and choose to share it. So, nothing is permanently saved until you actually opt for it to be.

Although the camera is “recording” while you’re in Live Photo mode, the device will not save the 1.5 seconds before until you press the camera button,

says Apple. 

The pre-captured images are not saved to the user’s device nor are they sent off the device.

The company also added that they treat privacy and security of Live Photos the same as they do for existing Photos and Videos. Recorded clips don’t leave the device for any reason unless you purposely share them or elect to use iCloud.

Now the more pressing fact, ‘Hey Siri‘, though a very intuitive feature, will allow your iPhone or iPad to listen in to whatever you’re saying all the time. The condition for a plugged in device is now off the hook. The feature brings in voice recognition which will allow your device to distinguish your voice even in a rough crowd. And although the whole service seems great, it’s always creepy to have your voice being continuously transmitted to Apple.

Apple stated that even though your phone/tablet will be listening to you all the time, no data will be recorded or sent to the company. Instead, the service will be trying to match what you are saying with the model set when you were setting the service up, locally.

In no case is the device recording what the user says or sending that information to Apple before the feature is triggered, says Apple.

The rest of the feature works pretty straight forward. A comparison between what you are speaking and your personal way of saying ‘Hey Siri’ along with a general way. If something clicks, the device will take in your query and send it to Apple, it’s associated with your device using a random identifier, not your Apple ID or another personalized piece of information, though. After this, the data will be approved by the server for improving the service.

The “listening” audio, which will be continuously overwritten, will be used to improve Siri’s response time in instances where the user activates Siri,

Apple says. 

If a user chooses to turn off Siri, Apple will delete the User Data associated with the user’s Siri identifier, and the learning process will start all over again.


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