Apple's latest witty Health campaign highlights how companies track your private data

By India Today Technology desk: Apple is back with another campaign, reiterating its commitment to users’ privacy while sharing health data with the Apple Health app. As a part of the campaign, Apple has released a new ad that takes a soft jibe at its competitors (without naming them) by depicting how companies track users’ step count, menstrual cycle, heart rate, and fitness activities. “It’s your health data, you’ve been sharing without realising it,” the ad states. The campaign affirms that Apple’s Health app and HealthKit are designed with privacy in mind.

The new comedic ad underscores the significance of health data privacy through different characters and the narration of Emmy Award-winning actress and comedian Jane Lynch. It concludes by stating, “The Health app helps it keep it private,” referring to users’ health data shared with the company without their knowledge.

Apple’s official website also has a dedicated post highlighting its privacy practices. Under the health section, the company notes that iPhone and Watch users with the latest OS versions and 2FA (two-factor authentication) enabled can be assured that the data “is backed up in a way that Apple can’t read.” When the iPhone is locked with a passcode or Face ID, health and fitness data in the Health app — other than your Medical ID — is encrypted.

The website points out that apps that work with HealthKit are “prohibited from using or disclosing HealthKit data” to third parties for advertising or other data mining purposes. Additionally, Apple offers the option to review health data shared with other apps. To check this, open the Health app > Tap your picture or initials at the top right > Tap Apps or Devices below privacy.

While Apple promises to safeguard users’ private data shared with the Health app, its key Fitness Plus programme is yet to roll out in India.

Apple ran a similar campaign in January to highlight how third-party companies track user activities via their smartphones. Through a separate ad, the company revealed that email marketers track users’ emails, including the location where the mail was opened. To protect tracking via emails, Apple offers the “Protect Mail Activity” option. The old ad also highlights safety practices via Safari browser’s “Prevent Cross-site Tracking” and iPhones’ “Apple Tracking Transparency.” These tools are again designed to hide users’ browsing activities.

Over the years, Apple competitors in the phone and PC segments have taken a dig at the iPhone maker for offering users a lack of gaming and productivity options. For instance, Samsung ran a series of ads to poke fun at Apple for not having a folding smartphone in its portfolio. Microsoft and Intel have run separate campaigns to highlight the lack of gaming options on MacBooks.

Perhaps the most interesting ad campaigns were released in 2020 when Apple was getting ready to launch its first MacBook with the M1 SoC after severing ties with chipmaker Intel.

Intel hired actor Justin Long, who previously featured as “I’m a Mac” in Apple’s commercials, to praise Macs. Apple retaliated by collaborating with actor John Hodgman, known for his role as the “PC guy.” Apple’s counter-ad with Hodgman was created to take a jibe at PCs running Intel processors.

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