The best way to school people on desperately dull topics is through humor, at least that's the assumption made by Apple in its new four-part Data Privacy video series featuring Ted Lasso's Nick Mohammed.
The video, which was released today as part of a multi-pronged effort to highlight Data Privacy Day (January 28), the week that leads up to it, and all the data privacy tools iPhone users may or may not be using, spotlights four core iPhone data privacy features.
In the video, "A Day in the Life of an Average Person’s Data," Mohammed plays a heightened version of himself, someone overly concerned with his fame and notoriety but also being humbled at every turn. It takes a mostly light touch on explaining tools like Mail Privacy Protections, Intelligent Tracking Prevention, Apple Tracking Transparency, and Wallet & Apple Pay.
The more serious guidance will come courtesy of a new in-person Today at Apple session.
Starting on January 28, Apple will launch its first Today at Apple session solely devoted to data privacy: "Taking Charge of Your Privacy on iPhone." You can register for the free sessions, which will be conducted at Apple retail locations around the world, starting today (January 24) through Apple.com/privacy or the Today at Apple page on Apple.com.
For both the video and live sessions there are no new Apple Data Privacy features to tout. All of them are available in iOS 16 right now. Subjects the sessions will cover include:
- Passwords and pass keys
- App tracking transparency
- Safety check
- Location services
- Mail privacy protection
- App privacy report
In other words, you'll learn more about how to keep your mobile information private via Today at Apple than you will from Nick Mohammed.
That four-part (not counting the introduction and ending) video will be featured prominently on Apple.com, social media, and YouTube. While you may already use features like Intelligent Tracking Prevention, you could probably still get a chuckle out of watching Mohammed repeatedly embarrass himself. It's a far cry from where his character Nathan Shelley is heading in the upcoming Ted Lasso season 3 (which lives on Apple TV Plus, naturally) where he's now squaring off with Lasso as the new manager of a rival team.
While Apple's appropriation of Data Privacy Day (launched in Europe in 2007 and Adopted by the US in 2009) might seem self-serving, Apple's data protection tools have had a significant impact on the way many mobile, tech, and social media businesses operate.
Multiple companies, including Facebook (Meta) and Twitter, have noted the deleterious impact Apple Tracking Transparency has had on their businesses, including possibly costing them billions of dollars in advertising revenues.
Because Apple doesn't sell ads on its consumer devices or share any of the data it houses (and encrypts) for its consumers, Apple can do what, for instance, Google cannot. The latter's business is built almost entirely on user data and advertising.
It makes sense for Apple to lean into and celebrate this week while other tech companies might take a more muted, or even silent, approach.
The real question, though, is how well do you know the privacy tools on any of Apple's best iPhones or even the best smartphones? If you're not happy with how your data is managed, it might be time to trade up.
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A 35-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of PCMag.com and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.
Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, Fox News, Fox Business, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.