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Apple ditches macOS feature that allowed its apps to bypass VPNs and Firewalls

The company said it was temporary last year


Apple is known for its stringent privacy policies, but it has made some controversial moves in the past, even with its tight protocols. One of the few is a feature buried in macOS that allowed the company’s apps to bypass firewalls and VPNs known as ContentFilterExclusionList.

The feature ensured that the company’s apps bypassed any content filters running on the mac under the hood without the user’s knowledge.

It was part of the recently launched version of macOS, version 11, also known as Big Sur. ContentFilterExclusionList included 53 apps from the tech company, including App Store, iCloud, and Maps.

In October last year, it was discovered by security researchers who raised the alarm over the security implications of Apple’s decision. Since the discovery last year, the company defended itself, saying the feature was temporary.

In macOS Big Sur 11.2 beta 2, Apple has finally fixed the issue by completely removing the feature.

Once macOS Big Sur 11.2 stable rolls out, Mac users will again be able to mask their IP addresses and location information. Traffic through the company’s apps will also be subject to scrutiny by firewalls and VPN services.

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin is a freelance tech journalist. Talk to me via email at alvinwanjala[at]pm[dot]me

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