Apple has made data from Maps, the iOS navigator app, available to Western governments and authorities. In this way, it will be possible to have a measure of the movements and use of transport during the epidemic. The information, in English Aggregated Navigation Data, is collected anonymously and is not linked to any Apple ID.
It reads in the post, shared on Twitter by the CEO Tim Cook: “We do not keep track of the places where our user has been”. The data, covering 63 countries, are calculated by comparing the times in which the app was used to get indications with the traffic volume of a city.
While protecting your privacy, we are sharing aggregated mobility data from Apple Maps to help public health authorities learn how people travel in their communities and to provide valuable insights to stop the spread of COVID-19. Stay safe and healthy! https://t.co/Nok77HKIXN
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 14, 2020
Maps doesn’t control the market
Maps is not the most used app. According to Statista and The Manifest even in the United States, where the iPhone is well placed in the market, it is Google Maps that wins by far over the others, in usage estimates exceeding 60% of users. The impact of iOS Maps data sharing must therefore be reduced, but it is still a nice gesture.
What is Apple doing against coronavirus
Apple is working hard to help fight Covid-19: it has donated 20 million masks in America, has started to produce facial screens, has created an app for American health workers and law enforcement agencies that helps control if you have the symptoms of the virus. You can ask Siri if you have contracted the disease and Maps favors the essential goods stores nearby. Apple is also collaborating with Google to create a new Bluetooth technology suitable for contact tracing needs.