In the most recent OS updates (iOS 15, iPad OS 15 released on Sept 20, 2021) and the upcoming Mac OS 12 (likely to be released in mid-late October 2021) Apple has created a new service for users of iCloud to anonymize their internet requests. Although not a VPN service, the impact is similar, in that users IPs will no longer be transmitted with requests, instead an IP from Apple's service will be used. Initially this feature will be in "Beta", even when the rest of the OS is released, but it will be available on all apple devices, and will impact both desktop and mobile traffic.
Given that IPs are a primary signal and only way to prevent repeated account creation and sock-puppetry, this means many Wikis will likely need to or will at least consider blocking all edits from Apple's IPs, as we do with VPN. English Wikipedia has already discussed this here.
Because this is a new feature for Apple it is not clear how big the uptake and impact here will be. The goal of this task is to estimate how severe these impacts might be to determine what if any mitigation strategies or conversations are needed.
Below are questions we intend to answer, all in service of understanding the potential loss in editors and edits from a wholesale block of these users, and to come up with ways to allow those users to easily continue contributing.
- Analytics questions
- Market info
- [Roughly from public info] What proportion of Apple editors are iCloud users?
- [Roughly from expertise/past experience/public info] what proportion of iCloud users are likely to use this feature?
- User experience: Given our issues with unclear, undisplayed or unusable block messages, what user experience will these editors have when they try to edit after installing the OS update?
- Community: Is the IP exemption policy and admins dealing with IP exemptions aware of this change and able to handle additional requests? What would their general stance to these requests be?