This post was originally published on September 9, 2015.
If you have an iPhone, then your device and its maker, Apple, know a lot about you. From your location to your web history, owning an iPhone means there’s a possibility you’re surrendering a lot of your privacy to the tech giant.
Many of us can live with that. But how would you feel about your iPhone tracking when and how often you have sex?
Given that Apple’s iCloud service—which syncs user data across iPhones, iPads, Macs, and so on—has already been breached in a major and embarrassing way, you’d be forgiven for not wanting to store your sexual activity data on there.
But that’s exactly what new features in the latest version of the iPhone operating system, iOS 9, want you to do. WTF?
Did You Put A Glove On It?
The new Reproductive Health features in the latest version of the iPhone’s Health app were revealed—or rather, quietly mentioned—in Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2015 conference.
Under a tab called Sexual Health, the updated Health app invites you to record each time you have sex, including the time you did it and whether or not you used protection.
… users will then be able to see that data represented on a graph or in a numerical read-out. They can then share that information with other apps.
We understand how these new features will be useful for individuals trying to make a baby. In fact, they’ll go well with the wonderful selection of trying-to-conceive apps already on the market.
But if you don’t do your homework, these features could have serious ramifications for your privacy.
Share My Sexual Activity
The problem with keeping a record of your sexual activity on your iPhone isn’t about the security of iCloud.
When you share your health data with other apps on HealthKit, you’re also sharing your data with the developer of those apps.
There are tens of thousands of apps, made by tens of thousands of developers, on the iTunes App Store. And most of them are companies you’ve never heard of.
But why, you might wonder, are these Reproductive Health features appearing on iPhone now?
iOS 9: Health For Women?
The new Reproductive Health features are part of Apple’s effort to provide better features for women. Other new features of the Health app include tracking periods, cervical mucus quality, and more. These features are pretty nifty for understanding your body, sharing data about your health with your doctor, and tracking your progress if you’re trying to have a baby.
But ask yourself these questions:
Are you okay with sharing your most intimate data with software developers you don’t know?
Are you okay with the idea of a graph of your sexual activity sitting on some corporation’s server somewhere?
Are you okay with the possibility of a stranger knowing the quality of your cervical mucus?
If yes, then cool. Power to ya.
If not, then you’d better stay away from the new Reproductive Health features of iOS 9. Because sometimes all the technology in the world can’t beat good old pen and paper. Or your little black book.
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