Apple tightens HealthKit privacy policy in bid to protect users’ health data

apple health app murder germany
With Apple’s HealthKit platform set to launch in the coming weeks as part of iOS 8, the tech company has updated its privacy policy for health apps, with the new rules warning developers of HealthKit-related mobile software not to sell or share collected personal data to marketers or any similar organizations.

Apple is all set to reveal a new iPhone (or iPhones), and possibly a smartwatch, at a special event in Cupertino on September 9. iOS 8 is expected to launch at the same time, with a slew of new health-related apps from independent developers likely to follow soon after.

Related: Apple wants to bring HealthKit to a hospital near you

HealthKit is an Apple-made application program interface (API) that tracks and gathers data from third-party software for presentation in Apple’s forthcoming Health app. The new app has the potential to show a wide range of user data, including, for example, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and physical activity. Data can also be delivered via hardware such as Fitbit, or the sensor-laden smartwatch that many expect Apple to unveil alongside its new handsets next month.

Related: Best iPhone fitness apps

While developers will be able to build apps that deliver data to Health, they’ll also be able to pull information from other health-related apps on a user’s mobile device if granted permission.

With this in mind, Apple is keen to ensure that such sensitive information is not sold on or in any way distributed to others. The Cupertino company’s updated policy informs developers they must not “sell an end-user’s health information collected through the HealthKit API to advertising platforms, data brokers or information resellers,” and also should not use collected data for any other purpose than to provide health and/or fitness services.

According to an FT report Thursday, research carried out last year by campaign group Privacy Clearing House revealed that 43 percent of the health apps it looked at shared “personally identifiable information” with marketers.

Apple hopes that by making the rules clear from the start, it’ll be able to avoid privacy-related controversies further down the road. The move also aims to instill confidence in customers using its products to monitor their fitness and health, an area which is attracting increasing attention from not only app developers but gadget makers, too.

Business

Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Home Theater

Plex is the latest player to contemplate the subscription streaming game

With massive reach thanks to its client app being supported virtually every media device on the planet, Plex is now looking at the future of its media curation platform. A future that may include free and subscription services.
Mobile

Benchmark results show Snapdragon 855 destroys previous-generation chip

Almost exactly a year after the launch of the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm took the wraps off of its next-generation mobile platform, the new Snapdragon 855. The new chip puts an emphasis on A.I. performance.
Mobile

Keep up-to-date with the best news apps on iPhone and Android

Are the days of traditional newspapers and broadcast news dwindling? With apps this good, maybe. Catch up on the latest headlines on any platform with the best news apps on iOS and Android.
Mobile

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.
Mobile

Verizon’s deal could get you a free iPhone XR — but there’s some fine print

Verizon launched a new deal for its smartphones aimed at encouraging customers to open a new line. If you're willing and you want two new phones, you could get a free Samsung Galaxy S9, iPhone XR, or Pixel 3.
Mobile

5G phones make a lot of promises. Here’s what to really expect

There has been a lot of marketing copy expounding the potential benefits of 5G networks, but a lot less on the practical implications of 5G smartphones. There's a reason for that.
Computing

Keep your laptop battery in tip-top condition with these handy tips

Learn how to care for your laptop's battery, how it works, and what you can do to make sure yours last for years and retains its charge. Check out our handy guide for valuable tips, no matter what type of laptop you have.
Computing

Protect your expensive new laptop with the best Macbook cases

If you recently picked up a new MacBook, you’ll want something to protect its gorgeous exterior. Here, we've gathered the best MacBook cases and covers, whether you're looking for style or protection.
Mobile

How to jailbreak your iPhone on iOS 12: A beginner’s guide

The latest jailbreaking tools for iOS 12 make freeing your iOS device easier than ever. This guide will teach you how to jailbreak your iPhone or iPad, and explain what jailbreaking will do for you.
Mobile

Here’s how to take a screenshot on an iPad, step by step

The ability to capture screenshots may not be the iPad's most glamorous feature, but it's one of its most useful. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to take a screenshot on an iPad, whether it's an iPad Pro from 2018 or an older iPad model.
Social Media

Here’s how to save someone’s Instagram Story to your phone

Curious about how to save someone's Instagram Story to your phone? Lucky for you, it can be done -- but it does take a few extra steps. Here's what you need to know to save Instagram Stories on both iOS and Android.
Computing

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.
Deals

Need a new tablet? The best iPad deals for January 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.