Last week at WWDC 2014, Apple introduced iOS 8 ,and even if it wasn’t over talked about, this feature is set to cause havoc for location trackers, and a major win for privacy. According to a tweet by Frederic Jacobs, the changes may be due to MAC address used to identify devices within networks. This means that when iOS 8 devices look for a connection, they randomize that address, thus disguising any trace of the real device.
iOS 8 randomises the MAC address while scanning for WiFi networks. Hoping that this becomes an industry standard. pic.twitter.com/oGsZMtydUo
— Frederic Jacobs (@FredericJacobs) June 8, 2014
If you wondering why are iPhones are checking out Wi-Fi networks in disguise, it’s because there’s a dedicated industry committed to tracking users through that signal. The system automatically logs any phone within Wi-Fi range, giving stores a complete record of who walked into the shop and when. But any phone using iOS 8 will be invisible to the process, potentially calling the whole system into question.
Apple has embraced MAC spoofing, and it’s believed that the practice of Wi-Fi sniffing may stop working entirely. With a huge number of iPhone users in the world, running iOS, which has a very fast adoption cycle for new operating systems, any data is likely to leave out a huge sector of the population. The result is basically a privacy win for Apple users .