Google’s sneaky new privacy change affects 85% of iPhone users

“‘What Google really wants is for everybody to be signed in to their Google accounts all the time,’ a Google insider told me in passing last month,” Leo Mirani reports for Quartz.

“Around the same time, the official Gmail blog put up a 205-word post explaining the latest update to the Gmail app for Apple devices that run on iOS 7. ‘The app now fully supports background app refresh, which means your Gmail messages will be pre-fetched and synced so they’re right there when you open the app—no more annoying pauses while you wait for your inbox to refresh,'” Mirani reports. “That’s great! But wait, what’s this: ‘The Gmail app also now supports sign-in across Google iOS apps, including Maps, Drive, YouTube and Chrome. Sign in to one, and you’ll be signed in to all (this also works for signing out). So you won’t have to type in that 27-character password or retrieve your 2-step verification code every time you navigate to another Google app. You may need to re-login after you update the app, but then you’ll be all set.'”

“That sounds convenient. And it is — but not for you, for Google,” Mirani reports. “This change affects only Apple users who have upgraded to iOS 7, the latest version — but that’s 85% of iOS devices. They no longer have the ability to remain anonymous as they watch videos on YouTube or navigate their cities using Google Maps.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]


    1. I cancelled my Gmail account, and my YouTube account awhile back. I was a YouTube junkie with a bajillion subscriptions, and had posted a lot of comments over the years. All of that got wiped out, but now I only go to YouTube to check a pertinent link. I can’t make a comment anymore but that’s no great loss.

      1. my c­­­­o-­­­­wor­­­­ker’s ha­­­­lf-si­­­­ster ma­­­­kes $8­­­­9 /hou­­­­r o­­­­n t­­­­he l­­­­aptop . Sh­­­­e ha­­­­s be­­­­en fire­­­­d fro­­­­m w­­­­ork f­­­­or five mo­­­­nths ­­­­b­­­­­­­­ut las­­­­t m­­­­onth h­­­­er c­­­­heck wa­­­­s $21­­­­382 ju­­­­st ­­­­wor­­­­ki­­­­ng o­­­­n th­­­­e la­­­­ptop fo­­­­r a f­­­­ew h­­­­ours.
        l­­­­ook a­­­­t th­­­­is s­­­­ite……..

      2. This person needed more than a few hours even @ $89 per hour, to earn $21,382 in a month — 240 hours, or 80 hours per week. It’s a sweat shop! Don’t take the job.

    2. The spam is emanating from ethelarivera offering jobs @ $89 per hour, infesting MDN’s comments for the last two dozen entries. Annoying as it is, I still regard it as far less reprehensible than Google’s method of making money, which is the same thing but done in secret, with a soothing cover story and a company halo.

    3. I hate how Screwgle has ruined YouTube, little by little, change by change. Ruined the comments section, ruined the user experience. Wish YouTube hadn’t sold out but must have been an awful lot of money to say no to.

    1. There are exceptional companies, as in companies who RESPECT their customers. But they are indeed the exception

      Spirit Of The Age:
      Screw Thy Customer

      Self-destructive companies eventually succeed in destroying themselves.. And no, f*kers, no more bailouts/corporate welfare for you.

      ‘Too big to FAIL’ = Too big to exist.
      Good riddance. I’m looking at you GM…

    1. I’ve been grudgingly using it for a while. It’s rare that I have to search using Google at this point. At least Bing/MSFT is in no position to damage Apple anymore.

    2. works pretty well for general web searches, in my experience. Sometimes you may still need to Google/Bing/Yahoo, but I try to minimize it. And, when I cannot avoid using Google, I use every Google blocker and disconnect option available. They are going to have to work harder to get my info.

    3. DuckDuckGo. In Safari it installs a button next to the text entry box that fine tunes your search amongst other engines such as Bing and Google images, so you sacrifice little of your reach. There are times when Dr. Jekyll is your best source; but you needn’t have him accustomed to your every move.

  1. Ditto….I tried Bing for about 2 months and couldn’t stand it. I do like better. Maybe its time for Apple to do a search engine and compete against Google?

    1. yep, time for mr. apple to “nike” up and “just do it”…. but don’t pull any fast ones when they do… just a straight forward search engine – sans self interest weaseling – think of it as doing something worthwhile for its loyal customers, who are looking for a powerful and viable alternative to google search.

      i think most users are growing very weary of being used by google, facebook and others who data mine us and monetize our personal info.

      do it right and give google something new to worry about – it isn’t like they don’t have the financial resources to hire the talent to get it done.

  2. Google is a bunch of lying, no-good, info miners. But at least they didn’t do what Sony did for the past decade. What Sony did was unforgivable. I will never buy anything made by either Google or Sony.

      1. Basically, if you play a music CD on a computer, and it was published by Sony during certain years, it secretly installs a rootkit that wreaks all sorts of havoc on the computer. (Rootkits are similar to computer viruses, except much worse, because they change the infected operating system to make it nearly impossible to detect or remove them or other malware.) Macs were unaffected, of course.

        More about it here –

  3. This is a silly complaint.

    It only affects people who want to be signed into one or more Google services while not wanting to be signed into another one.

    You still have the ability to run the apps signed out. It’s just that now signing in and signing out affects the status of all of Google’s apps on your iOS device.

    So yes, if you want to give up your privacy on YouTube, but not on Google Maps, this new method makes it more inconvenient for you since you have to log in each time you want to be logged into YouTube and log out each time you want to be logged out of Google Maps.

    However, I’d imagine most people either don’t want to be signed into Google at all, or do want to be signed in regardless of what app they’re in. So the new method is easier for those people because they don’t need to bother signing into each app individually.

    1. You must be an Android. Or a Troll. You better read and understand before you reply.
      Google is as toxic to the internet as the quicksilver in the amalgam you had in your teeth once. This is common sense.

      Get rid of the G Shit… Help yourself.

      1. Why is is that unless someone only says negative things about Apple’s competitors that some idiot troll like you has to come out an slobber all over their keyboard?

        Read what I wrote again. Where exactly did I endorse Google, suggest using it, or even say that I used it?

        If you don’t like Google’s services (for privacy or other reasons) don’t use them. In which case the complaint in this article doesn’t apply.

        If you do want to use Google services (regardless of privacy) do so. You can do so signed in or signed out. Read what I wrote without slobbering so much on your keyboard and you’ll see why the article is a silly complaint for people who still are going to be using Google services. (hint: you can still sign out of all of Google services while still using their apps.

        The silly complaint in the article is about no longer having the ability to have some apps signed in while others are signed out in Google. They have to now be all signed in or signed out.

        Guess what dimwit? You’re not affected by the complaint in this article, because you’re not using Google’s services at all, let alone signed into them, so why are you even here?

        1. The only troll here is you. If you love Google so much, then give yourself a ShameScam GagLazy dumbphone, and troll somewhere else. You don’t seem like the type of customer Apple wants to target anyway.

        2. James C – dude you have so serious issues. “ShamScam GagLazy”?

          “You don’t seem line the type customer Apple wants to target anyway”?

          Take a couple of deep breaths and try to find your medication.

        3. What part of Read what I wrote again. Where exactly did I endorse Google, suggest using it, or even say that I used it? did you not understand?

    2. There is nothing silly whatsoever about it. luring people into using your service, while promising them you ‘won’t be evil’ and force them to hand over their privacy, then intentionally placing changes that will remove that privacy is not a small thing.

      The majority of people will not even be aware they are surrendering their youtube or search privacy by signing into gmail. This is slimy, pure and simple.

      They are making it more inconvenient for a purpose — TO MAKE IT MORE INCONVENIENT to protect your privacy. They could have easily made this a simple preference, but they choose not to. Google always uses the ‘velvet hammer’ approach to appear benign while dictating terms in an absolute manner.

      This is very similar to the new ‘if you want to use a single Google app in your Android distribution, you must you them all’ policy. Open? My ass. It’s clearly ‘if you want to use this ‘free item’, you must buy these six subscriptions first.

      1. Strip out everything we hate about Google.

        Now, let’s look at what the article is complaining about…

        The change that they made does nothing that changes the users actual privacy. Again, strip out the overall concerns about privacy in regards to Google, and focus on the article’s complaint.

        Prior to this change, you had to log in on each Google service based app along with secondary verification for every app.

        Now, you don’t. You have to first sign in on every app and do the initial secondary verification.

        You can sign out completely from all apps, requiring a new secondary verification, but you can still sign out of an app individually.

        If you never sign into Google Maps, signing into Gmail or any other Google app won’t sign you into Google Maps.

        If you sign in on Gmail, and then go to sign in on Google Maps, after the first time, you don’t have to do the secondary verification.

        For the majority of Google app users, this is a lot more convenient.

        For all none-Google app users, this change makes no difference.

        For a tiny minority who want to be completely signed out of a a Google app including the secondary verification, while still being signed into another app, this is a pain since you have to completely sign out of all apps including the secondary verification.

        I’m not sure why someone would even want to do that. You still have the ability to be logged in to Gmail under one account and logged into Google Maps in another account, and YouTube under another account. You even have the ability to be logged into one or more and not the others.

        Since the secondary verification is the phone itself, I’m not sure what the possible benefit of removing that actually is.

        TL;DR: This may sound really confusing if you’ve never used Google apps, but the article is silly because you still have the ability to sign in and out of Google apps individually. It’s the secondary verification that is now linked. Most people won’t notice the difference, because there is none other than not needing to do a secondary verification sometimes because it has already been done.

        Sorry if I didn’t explain this well previously.

    3. I’m missing the hoopla. How is Google accounts worse – or even that different – than what Apple and many other tech companies do?

      Having a single account for multiple services is common, and typically more continent for the user. You can always logout and make new accounts, if you want to for any reason. Both Apple and Google say they collect personal information from users, but only after anonymizing it – I’m not totally comfortable with that, but it’s way better than most companies who don’t make any claims of anonymizing data they collect.

      So what is it, specific to Google ID’s, that’s worse than similar things like Apple iTunes ID’s?

  4. They profited over Michael Jackson’s death. I don’t usually like non-iOS devices, but when I saw that they were using the Sony Xperia to promote Michael Jackson’s “new” album, “Xscape”, I got mad. They NEVER did anything like that during the last decade of MJ’s life! They sabotaged his 2001 album, “Invincible”, and blamed his trials on the failure of that album, which wasn’t even a failure in the first place. Don’t get me started on the whole This Is It thing…

  5. Well, I have the latest version of the Gmail app, and I also have the YouTube and Google Maps app. I’m logged into the Gmail app, but both the other apps still show the “Sign In” buttons, meaning I’m not logged into them…so I’m confused. Am I missing some subtlety to the issue here?

    1. No, but you are missing the point of this site. This is an anti-Google spot, so if you want to keep those services, then sell you iPhone, and get yourself a Fragmandroid Dumbphone.

      1. This is a pro-Apple place. That may tacitly mean that it is often antagonistic toward Google, but not that people who decide to use Google services in one way or another are unwelcome here. I think of Google much the same way as I do the government. I don’t trust it or rely on it, and I try to use alternatives as much as humanly possible, but I’m not going to pretend that there aren’t a few things here and there that it does pretty well.

        1. Grow up, Christman…. “This is an anti-Google spot”. No, it’s a Mac news site. Doctrinaire enrollment in “the one true way” is not necessary.

          Added to which you and † appear not to have even read kevicosuave’s posting. Your raving about “troll” didn’t even rationally connect to what he wrote.

      2. You are one of the trolls on this site.

        Yes, you can be pro-Apple, anti-Google, and still be a troll on a pro-Apple site.

        Especially since you don’t even have a valid userID with post history.

    2. @InquisitiveEngineer,

      You need to sign into each app first under the same account. Once you do that, you should be able to auto-log in and out from all apps. Note that you still have the ability to actually be logged in or out of individuals Google apps, but your account carries over from app to app.

      1. Ok, that makes more sense–and sounds a lot more reasonable than what the article seems to imply.

        Meanwhile, does this impact the ability to be logged in to different Google apps with different accounts? If not, and if you still wanted the additional functionality being logged in gives you, that would be one way to circumvent the commercial surveillance….

        1. Yes to both questions.

          I realized that I still didn’t really fully explain things (see my other comment). I left out the part about secondary verification, which is really what this whole change is about.

          So yes, you can log in under different accounts. You could have one account that what MyMapAccount as a username and use that only for Google Maps while MyMailAccount was only used for Gmail, and have them both logged in individually at the same time or one in one out.

          It’s just that if you use the same name on multiple apps, you don’t have to do the secondary verification again unless you completely sign out.

  6. I must admit I am also fascinated by some of Googles inventions. But I do not stop thinking there.
    Invention must go together with social responsibility!

    Once again: Google makes most of its profits from user data. Users are still not really aware of the fact that their behavior is the substance of Google profits. This is crazy. No discussion about that.

    We do not want to wait until the Glassholes own the internet completely and run around with their spying Google Glasses observing everything at anytime because they think it’s a cool new gadget that makes them special …You just do not even spent any effort to think one step further.
    Think why any other company would not dare to develop a spyglass like that!

    The intention of this article is:
    Google is threatening iOS users again. The threat is Google knows much more about what you do and when you do it and also where you do it than you would allow. Tracking users is their business!
    And they are always working on improvements to track you even better.

    One reason why we use Apple products is, that Apple does not sell our data. Of course they use it, but they take care of our privacy so much more than Google.

    Remember when Google was caught hacking Safari to track us? They were found guilty and they had to admit it!

    Learn your lessons before you troll again. It’s not about being an Apple lover or hater. It is not even about Apple.
    It’s about what Google is doing without taking care of the users or even telling them. Is so much worse on Android. You cannot use an Android device without a Google account, the most advanced constant tracking technology…

    See, you can break up with Facebook whenever you want, but you have to use a Safari Plug-In called “Google blocker” to get rid of this gooey Company in the internet.
    And you know what? This does not really help, because they track you anyways.
    Do you know which companies and servers they own?
    People are complaining about the NSA, well let me make a stand here:
    Google is so much worse, some morons are refusing to see it until it is too late.

    This company truly is the Big Brother. It is their official business model.
    Of course they are pretending to do it for a better world.

    OMG, I cannot stop laughing about it.

    1. I agree one hundred percent. With your post. Most people have no idea that Google is the commercial version of the NSA on steroids. People get up in arms about the NSA but do not see what google is doing as invading their privacy and monitoring them and that the tentacles of google is ever growing with no end in sight.

    2. When people defend Google and slam the NSA, I have them repeat their rant against the NSA and government ,except insert Google for every instance of NSA or the Government.

    3. Look, hate Google all you want. That’s fine. Hate their privacy policies. That’s fine too, and we’re pretty much on the same page with that.

      However, this article is as silly as complaining that Google’s cafeteria served tater-tots instead of french fries today.

      Neither complaint actually addresses any issue that affects users privacy.

      I could go on and on about privacy concerns when using Google Maps or other apps while signed in. But that’s not what this article is talking about.

      The author of this article doesn’t understand the very change that Google has implemented. That change doesn’t impact user’s privacy one bit.

      Nobody is going to be signed into a Google service inadvertently because of this.

      The only confusion someone may have is why they may not have to do secondary verification when signing in or when switching apps on a Google app when they’ve previously done the secondary verification.

      Since the iPhone itself is the means of secondary verification, there’s no privacy or security risk here. It’s simply a smarter and easier way to do things.

      So if you want to rally the troops in a fight for privacy rights based on what Google served in the cafeteria today, by all means, go ahead. But don’t call me a troll for pointing out that their choice of food selection has nothing to do with privacy.

      And by the way, I’m not defending Google here as much as I’m defending Apple. It’s Apple’s platform that has enabled this and it’s actually pretty brilliant. There’s no point in multiple secondary log in verifications from the same service on a device where the device itself is the means for secondary log in verifications.

      1. Your clarifications are welcome, and your patience exemplary.

        You will recognise, of course, that an overriding subtext in tech writing today is the urgent need to raise awareness about the Google menace.

        An article like this affords an opportunity to sound the alarm anew, by shining a lurid light on that organisation’s encroachments into our private lives.

        Mich more than any point of technicality, logic, or comprehension is at stake in what is shaping up as the Ethical problem of the 21st century.

  7. It’s worked like this on Android for some time now.

    I’m not sure what the big deal is? If you have gmail open and then open YouTube it signs you in automatically. That’s it.

    Ahhhhh the sky is failing!

  8. They no longer have the ability to remain anonymous as they watch videos on YouTube or navigate their cities using Google Maps.

    AND: Because you’re logged into Google ALL the time, that means you are being surveilled by Google tracking cookies ALL the time! It’s NOT just about being tracked on Google sites. It’s about being tracked…
    E V E R Y W H E R E
    on the Internet, by Google.

    F*K you Google. I’m deleting ALL your apps and removing my Gmail account from Mail, obviously. Parasites are never welcome to my party. Bye-bye! 😛

    1. The creepy line has long since since been crossed. With their tracking data, can they already extrapolate my trajectory, and predict my next assignation? Solomè already believes they can predict the colour of her lingerie. I’ve recently experienced troubling adverts that were a bit too coincidental, if you know what I mean. I wonder if I should try poisoning their database by salting it with bizarre searches or overloading it with keywords as you have done with the NSA. We the people need tools to protect ourselves from these megatheriums.

      1. As someone who still has a Gmail account, I am actually pretty worried. I’m not much of a Conspiracy theorist, but I have heard horror stories about how artists haven gotten death threats because of Google leaking certain information. My comic has generated controversy in its comment sections, because it tackles serious issues such as Gay Rights, and Autism. I have gotten threatening emails from people who think my comic is homophobic and insulting to people with disabilities, when it is neither. I am considering switching over to Yahoo Mail if the harrassment does not stop.

      2. I’m all for berzerking biznizziz as valid retribution, as long as it doesn’t cross the legal/responsible line.

        Meanwhile, I’m working on a series of articles about tracking cookies and how to control them. That includes the evil ‘Evercookie’. It’s a tough situation for newbies and grannies. There’s no way they’d put up with my geeky gizmos for keeping Google ad nauseam out of my Internet surfing. But the tools are there, a bit clunky and imperfect, but there.

        Right now, I’m studying the guts of tracking cookies, how to detect them and blacklist them. I’m running booth ‘Cookie’ and ‘Cookie Stumbler’ in a shootout campaign. The result appears to be that they’re better together than apart, which is an annoying conclusion Grafting is in order.

  9. Selling other people for money is called Pimping in much of the world and is illegal. In Silicon Valley and on Wall Street it is called a revenue opportunity.

    Stalking people is illegal in most of the world, but in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street it is called data mining and is considered a revenue opportunity.

    Time to get a paid e-mail account, because the free ones are all being data mined.

  10. I agree with the criticisms of Google’s ethics. I don’t agree with the shock and outrage.

    Nothing done by a business is free. Your going to pay for it somewhere, somehow.

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