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iOS 18's cloud AI features could use a nifty trick to keep your data as secure as on-device

Apple's cloud AI approach may be one of the most private and secure in the industry.

Published onMay 30, 2024

AirPods Pro 2nd generation Siri iPhone
Lily Katz / Android Authority
  • Apple will reportedly rely on the Secure Enclave in its M2 Ultra and M4 chips to process cloud AI requests without compromising users’ privacy.
  • Beyond the short-term iOS 18 AI goals, the company could depend on its private data centers to power sleeker wearables.

WWDC24 kicks off in just ten days, and Apple is expected to reveal the AI features coming to iOS 18 during its opening keynote. While some of these additions may be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro and work offline, the more advanced offerings may rely on Apple’s cloud solutions. According to a recent report, the Cupertino firm has managed to secure its cloud processing mechanism, and user data may always remain encrypted.

As per a report from The Information, Apple’s data centers may keep users’ data confidential even when processing it. Typically, servers have to decrypt user information to process it for AI functionality. By relying on the Secure Enclave in the M2 Ultra and M4 chips, Apple may have found a way to avoid decrypting the data altogether.

“With the confidential-computing approach, Apple will be able to handle processing of AI-related data in the cloud while making it extremely difficult for hackers to gain access to the data even in the event of a data breach. It would also reduce Apple’s burden of having to hand over personal data from its servers in the event of a government or law enforcement request.”

By adopting this approach, users’ cloud queries would be almost as secure as those done locally on their devices.

Beyond powering cloud AI features on the upcoming operating system versions, Apple may also be working on long-term plans for its private data centers. The company could develop sleeker wearables with slower processors that rely on its secure cloud to perform the needed tasks. This would help Apple further shrink its devices, as local processing and cooling wouldn’t be needed as much anymore.

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