OS X 10.10 Yosemite phones home

After OS X 10.10 Yosemite came out, a lot of people noticed the OS sending private information to Apple’s servers without the user’s consent. I haven’t updated to Yosemite yet, and I might not update at all, largely because of such disturbing findings. Apple has released a statement saying “we take privacy seriously”, but sending my data anywhere should be my decision to make, not Apple’s.

In case I do decide to update to Yosemite later, I’ve compiled here all the settings changes that I need to do first thing after the update:

Disabling Continuity

“Continuity” is the name of the feature that allows you to continue working on the same files even though you switch devices. Unfortunately, this means that pretty much all your data and files(including ones you didn’t save!) need to be sent to Apple.

If you do not want files to be automatically sent to Apple’s iCloud servers, turn the feature off using the following method:

Click on the Apple icon (top-left of your screen),
Select System Preferences,
Click on iCloud, and
Deselect the “Documents & Data” checkbox.
You can continue to upload and download documents to iCloud using Apple’s iWork for iCloud apps. But your edited and unsaved documents will no longer be saved to iCloud, and you will lose automatic access to them on iOS 8 devices.

Disabling Spotlight suggestions

By default, all your searches done through Finder and Safari are sent to Apple and/or Bing in order to give you autocomplete functionality in the search.

Luckily, Yosemite’s search-snooping can be switched off in seconds. In Mac OS X’s System Preferences, the functions can be found under “Spotlight” and then “Search Results.” From there you need to disable “Spotlight Suggestions,” “Bookmarks and History,” and “Bing Web Searches.” If you use Safari you will then need to disable the same “Spotlight Suggestions” function in the browser (under “Preferences” and then “Search”) to avoid having terms you type into its address bar shared with Apple by default too.

Disabling sending location data

OS X sends real time “anonymous” location data to Apple.

To stop the sending of the location data to Apple, you need to disable Location Services.

Open System Preferences
Click on Security
Under the General tab
Click the Unlock button in the corner and enter your Admin password
Select the checkbox next to “Disable Location Services”
Close System Preferences

These are the ones I’ve found on the web so far. If you know of more things that Yosemite phones home about, please leave a comment below.

Categorized as IT

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