How to read your iOS 15 app privacy report


The second part shows network activity, which is what domains your app has visited in the past 7 days. The report distinguishes between domains “directly” contacted by applications and domains “contacted by other content”. The former means the functional domain of application contacts, for example, your weather application pulls the latest temperature data. However, the latter is what happens when you click on a news article through a social network, or when the advertising module automatically plays a video.

The idea is to give you a deeper understanding of when and why your application interacts with these domains. However, the problem is that even with this distinction, most people cannot initially recognize whether the domains and IP addresses that appear in this list are trustworthy. When the Facebook app contacts “web.facebook.com”, you know you may be fine, but you may not recognize “bidder.criteo.com” or “video.primis.tech” in the same list.

“So far, the data I have seen are only the domains of the website that the application communicates with, which is of limited value to ordinary consumers who don’t know which domains to follow,” said Thomas Reed, the director of Mac, and the mobile security company Malwarebytes platform. “Personally, I would love to see if any of my applications communicate with rough domains.”

The content delivery and digital advertising ecosystem is a dense labyrinth of platforms that silently promotes many application services behind the scenes. Anonymity of end users is part of the point; you may not know which vendors and service providers your favorite restaurant uses. But this means that reviewing every domain you see in the app privacy report can be challenging. However, you can use your intuition as if you saw an application that you thought was made in the United States connected to many foreign domains.

The next section lists “Website Network Activity,” which does the same thing but applies to websites loaded via in-app browsers or mobile browsers such as Safari and Chrome. For example, if you visit “wired.com”, the report will show which domains it has contacted, such as “fastly.net” and “googlesyndication.com”. You can also learn which apps load these sites.For example, you may want to see “wired.com” in your Safari browsing history, but it may not be in your Period tracker, Unless you remember to open the article link through the cycle tracker’s in-app browser.

The last part tracks the most contacted domains among all applications and the websites they load.

“Guess what is connected to many domains? Social, shopping, search-completely predictable,” said Maximilian Zinkus, a cryptographer at Johns Hopkins University. “It could be a lot. It’s a list of content delivery networks and Google fonts and analysis. It’s also predictable, so if you see a strange domain in this list, it might be a spyware application or rogue browser extension. Signal.”



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