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Safari for iOS 14 will spotlight the ad trackers following your every move

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Nicole Lienemann)

Apple has announced an overhaul to Safari for iOS 14 and macOS 11 that will highlight the extent to which web users are monitored by advertisers as they browse.

Unveiled at WWDC 2020, the new version of Safari will provide users with a list of the ad trackers attempting to trace their web activity, blocked by the browser’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature.

Situated at the top of the browser, the new tool blocks invasive trackers in real-time and can also be prompted to generate a report that calls attention to the trackers at work on any given page.

In addition to the new Privacy Report function, Safari for iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur will also store and monitor users’ passwords to ensure they have not been compromised in a breach. 

“Privacy is central to everything we do at Apple, and it’s critical on the web,” said Beth Dakin, Safari Software Engineer. “And now you can see what Safari is doing to protect you.”

The new Safari feature will arrive for iPhone, iPad and Mac with the launch of iOS 14 and macOS 11, both of which are expected to land in the autumn.

Safari privacy

The latest Safari update is part of a wider campaign to improve the browser’s privacy facilities and hamper the efforts of intrusive ad trackers.

In March, it was announced Safari would block all third-party cookies by default. The same update also delivered measures to prevent websites using login credentials to fingerprint user activity and to disable a type of cyberattack known as cross-site request forgery.

“This is a significant improvement for privacy since it removes any sense of exceptions or ‘a little bit of cross-site tracking is allowed’,” said Apple Security Engineer John Wilander at the time of the announcement.

“Safari continues to pave the way for privacy on the web, this time as the first mainstream browser to block third-party cookies by default.”

Although Google Chrome is the world's most widely used web browser by a significant margin, Apple will hope its renewed commitment to user privacy will help it close the gap on the rival service.