Apple is using data from Apple Maps to provide information to public health authorities on whether people are abiding by lockdown rules.
The tech giant said yesterday that it would aggregate data from Apple Maps, which is installed as standard on all iPhones, to compare the amounts people were driving, walking and taking public transport before and during the pandemic.
While no individual user’s data will be shown, the data is updated daily and shows data from major cities in 63 countries or regions.
Apple is collating the data by counting routing requests from the app and comparing it with data from mid-January.
Public health officials in California said last week that they were using Apple’s data to track the effectiveness of lockdown measures in different locations.
While Apple does not provide specific numbers, it revealed that in New York City transit requests were down nearly 90 per cent, and 84 per cent in San Francisco Bay as of April 12.
Google has launched a similar programme, and both companies have said that these were strictly temporary measures and they would not continue to track users after lockdown was over.
Apple added that it did not track trips where users did not request directions and that it would continue to work with public health officials to identify what other types of data trends may be helpful.