Apple’s new redesigned Maps for US has ‘fuzzing’ privacy feature

Apple has redesigned its Maps software, with one interesting aspect of the upgrade being a privacy feature based on a ‘fuzzing’ technique. Apple is hoping to close the gap on Google Maps, which is the preferred navigation software for the majority of users worldwide.

Apple Maps privacy
Apple has released a new update to its Maps software, featuring a ‘fuzzing’ privacy feature. Photo: Apple.

Privacy fuzzing

Announcing its updating of the Maps system, Apple has reiterated its commitment to user privacy and keeping personal information safe. And part of this ethos is a new process that Apple refers to as ‘fuzzing’, which converts the precise location of a search’s origin to a less precise one.

“It is an effort we are deeply invested in and required that we rebuild the map from the ground up to reimagine how Maps enhances people’s lives — from navigating to work or school or planning an important vacation — all with privacy at its core”

Maps also retains no history of searches, or where users have travelled to, while any data collected by Maps is associated with random identifiers that continually reset. Apple has also revealed that no sign-in is required for the latest version of Maps, while the software is not associated with an Apple ID whatsoever.

Privacy associated with personal data is becoming an increasing hot potato issue, and it is one area in which Google has been repeatedly criticized. Apple may believe that it can gain an advantage over its great rival by delivering a Maps package that aggressively protects the personal data of users.

Apple Maps privacy
The new upgrade to Maps also sees some other new navigation features included. Photo: Apple.

Improved coverage

Aside from the privacy aspects of the software, Apple’s new Maps system includes improved road coverage and more precise addresses. Incorporated into the update is comprehensive views of roads, buildings, parks, airports, malls, and many more notable landmarks. Apple claims that this will make it easier for users to map out their journeys.

Commenting on the update, Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, stated that Apple has high hopes for its latest Maps release.

“We set out to create the best and most private maps app on the planet that is reflective of how people explore the world today. It is an effort we are deeply invested in and required that we rebuild the map from the ground up to reimagine how Maps enhances people’s lives — from navigating to work or school or planning an important vacation — all with privacy at its core,” Cue commented.

Apple Maps privacy.
Apple is hoping to close the gap on Google Maps, which has proved to be more popular. Photo: Create Health via Flickr.

Other new features

Other new clips incorporated into the Maps software include Look Around and Collections. The first of these features offers interactive street-level imagery, based on high-resolution 3D photography. This makes it possible for users to seamlessly travel through such cities as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston, and Oahu, with many more planned to follow.

And Collections is intended to make it easier for Apple Maps users to share locations with friends, family, and colleagues. The favorites bar has also been redesigned in order to make it easier to continually revisit places that are important to Apple Maps users.

The new Maps update will be rolled out to users in the United States immediately, with a European update to follow in the coming months.

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