Apple has been pretty vocal when it comes to privacy issues, going as far as to call it a fundamental human right. It’s thus a bit of a surprise to learn that the company gets paid billions of dollars by Google to stay as the default search engine in iPhones for Safari and Siri.
Google has been widely condemned for the way it takes advantage of user data, with even Apple CEO Tim Cook criticizing its practices. Axios on HBO decided to confront him with this hypocrisy during an interview, asking him why he was okay with taking billions from the search giant in spite of his previous remarks.
Tim Cook Defends Google
Cook begins his defense by pointing out that Google’s search engine is the best. He then highlighted the fact that Safari for iOS has in-built privacy protections like private web browsing and intelligent tracker prevention. The latter prevents ads from trailing users from site to site and keeping an eye on their browsing habits.
Still, even Cook admits that this isn’t a “perfect thing.” At the end of the day, Apple makes a tidy $3 – $9 billion profit from its contract with Google. People are probably going to use the search engine anyway, so the iPhone maker may as well make some money in the process, even if it does lose some credibility.
If you’d rather not hand over your data to Google, it is possible to change the default search engine in Safari. Go to Settings > Safari > Search Engine and choose between DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, and Bing.
Unfortunately, Siri can’t change its allegiance to Google, but you can ask it to search specifically in your preferred search engine so you only get results from that site.