Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president of Software Engineering, speaks about iOS 9 during an Apple event
Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president of Software Engineering, speaks about iOS 9 during an Apple event

iPhones with iOS 9.3 to warn users if bosses are watching them

The new feature doesn’t add any way to stop the monitoring, but it will make people aware of it

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 02 March 2016 17:35

Apple is adding new features to its iPhone to help people know if they’re being spied on.

Phones running the as yet unreleased version of iOS, 9.3, will receive an alert if their employers are spying on them, according to a post by Reddit user MaGNeTiX.

The latest beta shows a small message on phones that are being managed under Apple’s Device Enrollment Program, which allows companies to deploy and manage a large number of phones and keep them secured.

“This iPhone is managed by your organisation,” a message on the handset’s lock screen reads. The about page offers more information about the tracking, making clear that company’s IT departments can monitor and locate devices that are being managed using the software.

The feature doesn’t appear to offer any way to know whether a handset is being watched at any particular moment, and no way of altering those settings, which must be done by the device’s owner. But it helps remind users that their personal information might not be secure if their handsets are owned by their employer.

Apple appeals court decision on unlocking an iPhone

The company is engaged in a number of battles over privacy — most prominently with the FBI in the US, where it is fighting in court over whether it can be compelled to unlock a phone. The new update doesn’t seem to be linked to any of those discussions but comes at a time of increased scrutiny of Apple’s security policies.

The FBI case revolves around an iPhone that was owned by the government and given to one of the San Bernardino shooters as an employee. But the government did not install any such software, despite having paid for it, according to previous reports.

The feature was discovered in a beta version of Apple's iOS software, which means that Apple could remove it before the full version is released to the public.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in