There's a hidden message in Apple's new privacy logo -- and you can't unsee it

  • Apple has a new icon that it will display when the company is collecting personal information.
  • Apple’s new privacy warnings will start showing up in the next major iPhone update, which will be released this spring.
  • Apple’s new privacy logo is two people holding hands – but if you squint, it looks like a smiley face too. Once you see it, you can’t un-see it.

When you install Apple’s next major iPhone software update, you’ll receive a new pop-up after your phone reboots.

Basically, Apple is using a new icon showing two people holding hands to show when an app is using personal data. The first time you’ll see it is on a pop-up screen informing users about Apple’s privacy policies – something designed to underscore Apple’s public commitment to privacy, which the company sees as a major competitive advantage over Google’s Android.

“Apple believes privacy is a fundamental human right,” says the pop-up, which echoes language on Apple’s website.

Here’s the screen:

Privacy WindowBusiness Insider

But the logo at the top isn’t just two people holding hands – it’s also a smiley face. Look closer:

Smiley privacyScreenshot

See, smiley face!

We’ve seen the logo pop up in Apple’s Health app, but not a lot of apps where you’d expect it. “You won’t see this icon with every feature since Apple only collects this information when it’s needed to enable features, to secure our services, or to personalise your experience,” according to the text of the pop-up.

The new pop-up is in iOS 11.3, which is currently in beta. Most iPhone owners will be able to download it later this Spring.

New privacy logScreenshot

We’ve reached out to Apple to get more insight on the design of the logo, and we’ll reach out if we hear back.

Not the only hidden message in a tech logo

The tech industry has a long history of having fun with their logos.

Susan Kare’s original Macintosh logos were playful, fun, and showed a computer with a smiling face, for example. Apple’s current Finder logo is a smiley face, too.

Susan Kare iconskare.comSusan Kare’s original Macintosh icons.

But perhaps the best example of a message hidden by a smile in a technology logo is from Amazon.

Amazon’s famous logo does not hide its smiley face, but it does have an easter egg of its own.

The arrow goes from the ‘A” to the “Z” in Amazon – symbolizing the huge selection available on the online retailer. So it’s a smile, and a sales pitch, all in one.

Check it out:

Amazon com logoAmazon

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