Apple has started relaying Google ‘Safe Browsing’ requests from Safari in iOS 14.5 through its own servers, to add another layer of privacy. This will limit the amount of personal data that Google will be able to collect from Safari users.
Safari in iOS has a setting called ‘Fraudulent Website Warning’, which is enabled by default. This feature uses Google’s ‘Safe Browsing’ everywhere, except China, where the feature uses Tencent Safe Browsing instead to check if the website being visited by the user has been marked for suspected phishing activities, which could allow it to steal user data.
Apple is using its own servers as proxy for Google ‘Safe Browsing’ requests in iOS 14.5 beta
Apple has been stepping up its efforts to ensure that user privacy remains intact when browsing various websites and apps. With iOS 14.5 beta, the company has officially announced that it will be rolling out its App Tracking Transparency feature which will allow users to take control of their data and chose which app gets to track them online.
This particular change with proxying Safe Browsing requests through Apple’s own servers in iOS 14.5, was never officially announced by Apple. However, an eagle-eyed Reddit user found this change from the logs of the DNS service they use. All Safe Browsing requests go to proxy.safebrowsing.apple first, before they are routed to safebrowsing.googleapis.com in iOS 14.5 beta. This means that Google’s ‘Safe Browsing’ service will see requests originate from Apple’s proxy servers, and will not see the user’s IP address from where they originated from.
We are not sure if Apple has made the same change in the latest macOS beta yet but we would not be surprised if the company has done so as Safari for Mac has a similar ‘Fraudulent Website Warning’ feature.
iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 are currently in beta testing and are expected to release to all users over the next few weeks.
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