Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, currently taking place in San Jose, has unveiled a slew of new flashy products, including period tracking and a new Mac Pro.
But perhaps one of the most interesting new features the company’s developers announced at the conference is the new “Sign in With Apple” feature. If you’ve ever lazily chosen to log into a third party site with Facebook or Google, you know how handy a feature like can be.
“Now this can be convenient, but it also can come at the cost of your privacy—your personal information sometimes gets shared behind the scenes, and these logins can be used to track you,” Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi said on stage. The feature will allow Apple customers to securely use Face ID to sign in without Apple selling their data to third parties.
While the feature is a clear copycat of its competitors, Apple’s positioning it to be the safer, more secure alternative to say, allowing Facebook access to your late night shopping habits. Unfortunately, the timing of the announcement coincided with reports that the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are considering investigating Apple for possible monopolization of the tech industry. Other tech giants included in the probe are Google’s parent company Alphabet, along with Facebook and Amazon.
While the government hasn’t confirmed it will officially investigate Apple for antitrust violations, the news confirms that even being the most privacy-focused tech player in Silicon Valley won’t help Apple evade regulators’ crackdown on Big Tech.
Last month, CEO Tim Cook called the current data collection epidemic facing the tech industry a “crisis.” “Privacy in itself has become a crisis,” Cook said in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer. “It’s of that proportion—a crisis.”
He also stressed that Apple has no interest in collecting user data because that’s not their product. “You are not our product,” he said. “Our products are iPhones and iPads. We treasure your data. We wanna help you keep it private and keep it safe.”
“Sign in With Apple” will begin testing as part of a beta program later on in 2019.