Apple on Tuesday released data that could help inform public health authorities on whether people are driving less during lockdown orders to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
The company released a mobility data trends tool from Apple Maps to support the impactful work happening around the globe to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This mobility data may provide helpful insights to local governments and health authorities and may also be used as a foundation for new public policies by showing the change in volume of people driving, walking or taking public transit in their communities. To learn more about COVID-19 mobility trends, visit apple.com/covid19/mobility.
Apple says that maps does not associate mobility data with a user’s Apple ID, and that the company does not keep a history of where a user has been. Using aggregated data collected from Apple Maps, the new website indicates mobility trends for major cities and 63 countries or regions. The information is generated by counting the number of requests made to Apple Maps for directions. The data sets are then compared to reflect a change in volume of people driving, walking or taking public transit around the world. Data availability in a particular city, country, or region is subject to a number of factors, including minimum thresholds for direction requests made per day.
Data collected by Maps, like search terms, navigation routing, and traffic information, is associated with random, rotating identifiers that continually reset, so Apple doesn’t have a profile of your movements and searches.