Think for a minute about the ways you interact with your iPhone. If you're like most people, you probably use it to get directions, search for information, capture photos, communicate with your family and co-workers, get work done, and pay for goods and services. That's to say nothing of the health and financial data the average person has on their device.
Now, think about how much of that information you'd want to share with the people around you. Probably very little.
To highlight just how important privacy is, Apple just released an ad that is both hilarious and terrifying at the same time. The ad is pretty simple, and follows the familiar format of "what if we said out loud the things we do on our phones in private." The truth is, most of us would never want the people around us snooping on our messages, searches, or to have access to our credit card information.
Except, it isn't really the people around us we should worry about. Instead, what about the companies that make the devices we use every day? How much of our data are they able to access?
Usually, we don't even think about how much we trust the small pieces of metal, plastic, and glass filled with our information. We just enter our credit card information, or type in our password, or get directions without a thought to the reality that we are trusting the fact that our information won't end up being monetized, or worse--used by someone with far less noble intentions.
If you use an iPhone, that's mostly because Apple's philosophy has always been that "privacy is a fundamental human right." That's a direct quote from the company's privacy page.
As a result, the company doesn't collect, track, or monetize your personal information in the way other tech companies do. Safari prevents third-party trackers from following you around the internet. Apple Pay stores your credit card information on your device, and never sends it to Apple. iMessage encrypts your messages from end-to-end, and Apple can't see what you're sending. Apple sells products and services, as opposed to giving them away in exchange for the ability to show you ads. You are the customer, not the product.
In fact, most of the information your device knows about you stays on your device and is never sent to Apple. Through a spokesperson, Apple pointed out that its devices are designed to process data on the device whenever possible. That may not seem like a big deal, but in a world where monetizing our data is the default model, it kind of is.
Apple's even gone further to this end, protecting your information by encrypting your iPhone so that your data can't be accessed without your passcode or by using FaceID (or TouchID in some cases). Even Apple can't access your data, a point the company has made in several high-profile standoffs with the Department of Justice and FBI.
The purpose of the ad is really pretty clear, and that's to highlight that Apple has taken a different approach to privacy compared to its tech rivals, especially Google and Facebook. Apple told me that it believes people shouldn't have to choose between having a smart device and having privacy. Apple's goal is to build devices that do both.
Apple's new ad is funny, but makes the point that privacy isn't. Privacy should be a given. Otherwise, the alternative is terrifying.