Security is a big deal for Apple, at least it is now, after numerous breaches last year. This year at WWDC, Apple made sure to emphasise the fact that the company does not collect or mine any user data; an obvious contrast to the practices put into place by Google and the Android eco-system.
Apple software engineering VP Craig Federghi emphasised that both Siri and the new iOS9 keeps all user data as anonymous as possible. All functions are conducted on the device and localised to avoid dealing with third parties. Federghi explained that the company does not mine any photos, email, or contacts.
While it would appear that Apple has a users best interests at heart, this looks more like damage control for what happened with the Spotlight search feature which was introduced last year in Mac OS X Yosemite. That particular search function conducted both local searches on a computer and on the internet, displaying the results simultaneously. There were concerns that Apple would be able to track the searches made for private files, since it would have to connect to Apple’s servers for the web portion of the search. Not that anything has happened or any security flaws have been discovered yet.
Spotlight is not gone in the next version of Mac OS X El Capitan, but it should be pointed out that the searches are made using temporary identifiers that help anonymise users.
In addition to emphasising the privacy features of iOS9, Apple will be beefing up the security on iPhones and iPads by expanding the PIN from four digits to six. Admittedly, this won’t actually stop anyone from breaking into the device through brute force attacks. Instead, it is intended to delay any would be thieves and give iOS users time to either locate their devices or remotely brick them.
The current four digit PIN on iOS devices has been rated as taking about 12 hours to brute force guess, which isn’t much. These devices are designed to brick themselves after 10 wrong guesses, but there are ways to also get around that small issue. Just as six digits will only push the amount of time needed to break into an iPhone from hours to days.