Why the random-stranger-powered Find My app isn't creepy

Because you can trust Apple, says Ben Bajarin.

From a note to Think Tank subscribers ($) posted Tuesday:

It went largely under the radar, but Apple’s Find My app is fascinating in execution.... When you understand how it works, you then understand it could have only been made by a company with a credibility foundation of trust around privacy.

When you need to find an offline device, you can use the Find My app, and it will have the offline device act as a Bluetooth beacon, and any other Apple device in the area will return back the location of your offline product. So, basically, you left your Mac or iPad at the office, and it is offline, for whatever reason, it will send out a secure Bluetooth signal and any other Apple devices in the area (even if they belong to someone else) will send a signal back to you with the location of your device. The surrounding iOS devices, and their owners, never know they are assisting you in finding your device.

What’s crazy about this is that some random strangers Apple device is going to help you find your device if need be. If this wasn’t coming from Apple, it would seem awfully creepy. In fact, had Apple not built a foundation of privacy credibility, I don’t think they could have released this feature. It’s only because Apple’s customers now believe Apple is not going to track or steal their location and use it for malicious reasons in this solution that people will be Ok with letting the service use their nearby Apple product to help you find yours. This is the crux of the matter. Only because Apple has credibility in the area of privacy can a feature like Find My become possible.

My take: You might think that everybody already knows that Apple can be trusted with your privacy. Trust me, they don't.


  1. Jerry W Doyle said:
    No organizational or governmental entity can be trusted with your privacy. Some organizations, such as Facebook, are egregious and even duplicitous in failing to adhere to its stated policies. There are organizations and governmental entities that have within their DNA and strive in their administrative, management and operational practices to protect consumer privacy. There are laws that drive published regulatory guidance that enables the best of companies’ written policies based on those laws and federal rules; but there always will be an individual or some individuals within an entity who prostitutes the companies’ stated policies. It happens everyday.

    We hope and we pray that our employees are incorruptible and follow company polices. Most employees do their jobs with high integrity. A few employees, though, always will choose not to do so for sundry reasons. It is these individuals who can impugn a company’s highest established reputation.

    June 5, 2019

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