Humor is the best way to teach people desperately boring topics, or at least that’s what Apple is assuming in its new four-part data privacy video series starring Nick Mohammed Ted Lasso.
The video, released today as part of a multi-pronged effort to highlight Data Privacy Day (January 28), the week leading up to it, and all the data privacy tools that iPhone users may or may not use, outlines four basic iPhone data privacy features.
In A Day in the Life of an Average Person’s Data, Mohammed plays an exalted version of himself, someone who cares too much about his fame and notoriety but is humiliated at every turn. Explaining tools like Mail Privacy, Smart Tracking Prevention, Apple Tracking Transparency, and Wallet & Apple Pay mostly requires a light touch.
More serious clues come with a new personal Today at Apple session.
Starting January 28, Apple will launch its first Today at Apple session, dedicated solely to data privacy: “Taking Charge of Your Privacy on iPhone.” You can sign up for free sessions, which will be held at Apple retail locations around the world, starting today (January 24) via apple.com/privacy or Today on Apple’s website at Apple.com (opens in a new tab).
For both video and live sessions, there are no new Apple Data Privacy features to advertise. All of them are now available in iOS 16. Topics that will be covered in the sessions include:
- Passwords and access keys
- Application tracking transparency
- Security check
- Location Services
- Mail privacy protection
- App Privacy Report
In other words, you’ll learn more about how to keep your cell phone information private using Today at Apple than you would from Nick Mohammed.
This four-part (excluding intro and conclusion) video will be seen on Apple.com, social media and YouTube (opens in a new tab). While you can already use features like Smart Tracking Prevention, you can probably still laugh as you watch Mohammed embarrass himself repeatedly. That’s a far cry from where his character, Nathan Shelley, is heading in the upcoming season 3 of Ted Lasso (who obviously lives on Apple TV Plus), where he now battles Lasso as the new manager of a rival team.
While Apple’s appropriation of Data Privacy Day (launched in Europe in 2007 and adopted by the US in 2009) may seem self-serving, Apple’s data protection tools have had a significant impact on the way many mobile, technology and social media.
Many companies, including Facebook (Meta) and Twitter, have noticed the detrimental impact of Apple Tracking Transparency on their business, possibly including costs them billions of dollars (opens in a new tab) in ad revenue.
Because Apple doesn’t sell advertising on its consumer devices or share any of the data it stores (and encrypts) for its consumers, Apple can do what Google, for example, can’t. The latter’s business relies almost entirely on user data and advertising.
It makes sense for Apple to lean in and celebrate this week, while other tech companies might take a more muted, even silent, approach.
The real question, though, is how well do you know the privacy tools on one of Apple’s best iPhones and even the best smartphones? If you are not satisfied with the way your data is managed, it may be time for a replacement.