iOS 8 to randomize devices vulnerable to Wi-Fi tracking

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A rumored privacy upgrade for iOS users is on the way, which would help anonymize devices searching for available Wi-Fi networks.

Over the weekend, Swiss researcher Frederic Jacobs first took note of the plans on Twitter. The feature is expected to be implemented in Apple devices running iOS 8.

“iOS 8 randomises the MAC address while scanning for Wi-Fi networks,” Jacobs revealed on Sunday. “Hoping this becomes an industry standard,” he added, while posting proof of the plans.

Last week, Apple made its first iOS 8 beta available to developers. The operating system's wide release for the public is scheduled to occur this fall.

Randomizing the MAC address, or unique identifiers assigned to Apple devices, would give users a layer of security against marketers, for instance, which are known to track smartphones (to extract data on consumer shopping habits) via Wi-Fi communications in retail stores.

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