Apple is now assigning trust ratings to iPhone users, based on your phone call and email habits.
The new ratings were added as part of the latest iOS 12 update, which rolled out to users on Monday, September 17.
Apple’s new system was revealed after the company updated its iTunes policy page on the official website.
According to the iPhone maker, Apple builds a score based on the number calls and emails you send and receive – to help spot fraudulent transactions made using your device.
“To help identify and prevent fraud, information about how you use your device, including the approximate number of phone calls or emails you send and receive, will be used to compute a device trust score when you attempt a purchase,” Apple explained.
“The submissions are designed so Apple cannot learn the real values on your device. The scores are stored for a fixed time on our servers.”
So how does it actually work?
Apple has a bunch of different anti-fraud systems in place to work out whether payments you make are legitimate.
One of these, added in the new iOS 12 update, is a numeric trust score that’s associated with your device.
This score is sent directly to Apple when you make a purchase.
The data used to create the score – including the number of phone calls you’ve made – is only ever stored on your device.
Importantly, when Apple sees the score, it doesn’t see the contents of your communications. It’s not reading your emails, for instance.
These scores are also encrypted in transit, which means anyone who managed to intercept them would only see gibberish.
Apple says it holds onto the scores for a limited period of time, although it’s not clear how long that is.
Apple told The Sun that the calculated score is a single number, which is applied to a large number of accounts.
The Californian tech giant maintains that there’s no way to work backwards from the score to actual user behaviour.
The good news is that Apple says this score isn’t being used for targeted advertising – it’s simply a fraud-prevention measure.
It’s still not entirely clear, however, how knowing the number of calls and emails you make or receive can help stop fraud.
Apple said it’s fully committed to transparency, and worked hard to make sure the score was privacy-preserving.
It’s currently not possible to see your own trust score on your device.
However, Apple told The Sun that users can request any of their data at any time from this link.
We’re not entirely sure the trust score would be included in the data you receive though, because Apple only hangs onto it temporarily.