In Apple’s new software releases the Spotlight feature has been radically improved. On OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 it can be used for local file search, online search, and pulling information from a variety of online sources. Recently a report was published online detailing alleged data collection practices of Spotlight and the picture this report painted was quite troubling. Fortunately Apple has come out of a clarification.

It was claimed by The Washington Post that the revamped Spotlight was sending unique identifying codes, search terms and locations automatically to Apple, “keystroke by keystroke,” even if the feature was only being used to search for files on the local storage.

In a statement provided to iMore, Apple has reiterated that it is committed to protecting the privacy of its users and clarifies that IP addresses are not retained from users’ devices, and that Spotlight blurs location on the device so the exact location is never sent to the company. Information collected for Spotlight Suggestions has been kept at a minimum.

Apple has also clarified that Spotlight does not use a persistent identifier which means a user’s search history can not be created by Apple or anyone else. As far as pulling location through Bing is concerned Apple says it only forwards “commonly searched terms” and city-level location to Bing. Microsoft doesn’t get users’ IP addresses nor does it saves search queries.

The company also reminds users that it is possible to opt out of these features, which would reduce Spotlight to a tool that can be used only for searching local storage, and ensuring that no data is sent to any servers.

Filed in Cellphones >Computers. Read more about and .

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