Apple has always been among the most secretive tech brands. While some companies will send out leaks to drum up attention, Apple is already the most watched company. We have previously reported how CEO Tim Cook is obsessed with keeping products under wraps.

Call it paranoia or a wise move, either way, Apple is ramping up its secrecy. The company is now clamping down on overflying drones around its Apple Park campus in California. According to Apple Insider, security guards are tasked with telling drone operators that UAVs cannot be used in the airspace around the campus.

It is hardly a surprise the company would do this. Not even to just protect secrets, but to also keep out the media.

If you are unfamiliar with Apple Park, it is the company’s new headquarters. Staying in Cupertino, the new center will replace 1 Infinite Loop. It was opened in April in limited capacity, with Apple’s R&D department (2,000 staff) moving in.

Construction continues the project, which will eventually house 17,000 employees. Media attention around the futuristic the complex has been intense. Equally, Apple has shrouded the project in secrecy.

Journalists found drones to be an effective way of getting close to the campus. This is because the area is not an official Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) no-fly zone. In other words, anyone can fly there.

This means Apple does not have specific authority to stop drones flying over the park. That has not stopped the company from attempting to ground overflying drones.

It is a conflict that is likely to play out as journalists and indeed anyone else has the right to use the sky above the park.

Apple’s Secrecy

Back in June, we reported on a new initiative within Cupertino to stop leaks coming from within the company. The iPhone maker is probably the most leaked company in the world, but is clamping down on how those leaks get out.

The company holds employee conferences to school staff on preventing leaks. The presentation aims to educate employees on the culture of leaks. Titled “Stopping Leakers – Keeping Confidential at Apple,” the briefing lasts an hour and is run by Apple’s security experts.

  • alwaysamicus

    “This is because the area is now an official Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) no-fly zone. In other words, anyone can fly there.”


    • Cam Robodrone

      Seriously, try boning up a little on FAA regs before commenting on an article… see replies above.

      • mike20papa

        This is funny .. when ever the general public comments about flying .. Lookie here:

        It ain’t no FAA designated prohibited airspace, just class E airspace. And all those APPL dudes with their phones glued to their head can’t make it so. The campus looks like it’s just outside the class C for Jan Jose International (KSJC). Looks perfect for setting up a north south low pass. Perhaps in a North American T6 with the prop full forward, prop tips at critical mach to rattle some $$ APPL windows. A few more miles east and it would be in controlled class C (surface to 4000 ft). At the campus, looks like it’s outside the class C to the surface, so you can do what ever you want up to 4,000ft. Just don’t go any to the east and end up in the inner class C for KSJC. Flying, best appreciated when you were raised in gasoline alley, not in silicone valley. Hang the phone up and go gas up.

        • Captain Jack

          It’s actually in the Surface Area of the Class C. You need FAA airspace authorization under ATC Policy 7200.23. Commercial activities such as using a drone in pursuit of your work requires one of three processes which one is certification under 14 CFR Part 107. Don’t argue with me. I know what I’m talking about.

  • Dave LaSorte

    They can purchase as much legislation as they want…

  • Bucky Barkingham

    FTA: “This is because the area is now an official Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) no-fly zone. In other words, anyone can fly there.”

    Did you mean “… the area is NOT an official …”? Better proof reading and editing required.

    • Cam Robodrone

      No. Since it is an FAA no-fly zone, drone operators may operate at will. No-fly zones relate to aircraft… not UAVs. There are strict restrictions on drones if the area is not a no-fly zone. Better reading comprehension required.

      • flitetym

        A UAV/UAS *is* an “aircraft” — according to both USC and CFR.

        CFR 1.1 Aircraft means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air.

        • Dam Wright

          There is an exemption for model aircraft which covers most small drones.

    • Justin Playfair

      It has been corrected since your comment, but I read the same thing earlier today and yes, it was nonsensical the way it was originally written.

  • AFreeAmerican

    “the area is now an official Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) no-fly zone. In other words, anyone can fly there.”

    Got to love winbuzzer #FakeNews. #RealNews translation: “In other words, NO ONE can fly there.”

    • Cam Robodrone

      No one can pilot an aircraft in that airspace… this is not the same as no one can operate a UAV in that airspace. Drones thrive in no-fly zones – no potential crashes with aircraft.

  • oncemorearound

    Let the drones crash just like Apples s**tty software.

  • vincepage

    So all you have to do is tell UAV operators that you don’t want drones flying above your property? Can I do that?

    • pduffy

      Can they tell airplanes or helicopters not to fly over? Nope. Can you imagine what would happen to air travel if any private property owner said that nothing can fly over their property? A drone is no different that a police or media copter flying over. The building is being built in public, they can’t hide the construction no matter what they do.

      • Captain Jack

        Actually, they can. It’s done all the time. Apple can request the FAA to issue a TFR just like Disneyland. My guess is that their political clout, like Disneyland, may at least get them a meeting. Then, any flight operations in that TFR will be prohibited. Period. Knuckleheads in the drone world are making life difficult; once someone is hurt, expect a TFR. Fun over. But when you build an attraction like Apple did- what did they expect?

    • KennyB

      You can tell them anything you want, they don’t have to obey as long as the airspace is unrestricted.

  • oncemorearound

    Let the drones crash. Just like Apple’s less than marginal software.

  • Captain Jack

    Apple cannot stop drones from flying over the campus. They have no authority over the airspace; however, journalists that use drones are conducting a “commercial” activity and must not only be 14 CFR Part 107 certificated but must also have specific authority from the FAA to operate the drone in San Jose’s Class C Airspace. Now I find the hypocrisy unbelievable. Tech companies that datamine everything we do, are the first to complain their privacy is being invaded. I say TFB, suck it up, you created the tech, now choke on it.

  • If you know what you are doing with regard to construction your own drones, there is not a damn thing they can do about it. Build your own, F*ck the government registration, use high powered radio communication equipment with encryption… what are they gonna do? Fly an interceptor in? If they did that would make it even more fun!

  • Cam Urai

    Remember what Eve ate that destroyed mankind

  • CAaT

    Apple can Kiss A__. It’s a communist company who has an in your face H0M0 at the helm. Steve Jobs was an A__, and he was replaced by an even bigger A__. Apple has no issue selling bad products and refusing to support them unless you pony up for their bogus support contract. If not for the cult following of Libs, the company would not exist.

  • Vox Veritas

    “However, there is no FAA restriction on the airspace so a conflict is likely to happen…This is because the area is nowt an official Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) no-fly zone. In other words, anyone can fly there.”

    Amazing the difference one letter makes.

  • pduffy

    I hate Apple products. Banned from my house.

  • The Horned Helmet.

    Question: Does Apple have a helipad on premise? If they do, it’s an automatic no-drone area. Same goes for hospitals and any other commercial use helipad like a commuter service (for the “whales” (the big money people)). UAVs aren’t allowed within 5 miles of airports, helipads and the like and the regulations are spelled out in stone, get caught defying them and face the fines and/or jail time. No-fly zone traditionally means no aircraft overflights whatsoever, but doesn’t usually include UAVs. UAVs are restricted to 400 feet and below, aircraft 400 feet and above. to provide clear safety margin. That’s why you don’t usually see really low aircraft -unless- they are on approach for landing at an airstrip or helipad, thus the no UAV zone. Hope this helps alleviate some of the confusion.

    • Captain Jack

      I’m afraid you do not have all your facts straight. Specifically, depending on if you are operating under 14 CFR Part 101 or 107, the rules are different. I suggest reading those rules each Part independently. A read of ATC Policy 7200.23 (just revised) is also warranted.

  • Dave

    So I guess that a company which owns its real estate can ban flying drone over their property yet I, as a real estate home owner, cannot. So it assumes that money talks.

  • KennyB

    Because they are not threatening them like that, they are just saying to stop flying there, which they have no authority to enforce. To “blast” one out of the sky would be federal offense.

  • Jason

    Like others have commented, the idea of a company like Apple that makes a business out of invading peoples privacy, is now complaining about having their privacy invaded is too much.

  • TX-BOB

    Perhaps, the no-leak classes need to be taught at the Whitehouse.

  • tec

    anyone may have the right to fly in the sky but that is separate from the right to video or record and spy on the ground below or profit from it. Now that drones went from a VERY expensive hobby for a select few to pretty much anybody can get one for under $100 this is a case of technology surpassing our ability to regulate and govern it so people ‘play nice’. Right now, people do NOT play nice at all. And with the amount of anger and hatred all over the world it would be better to err on the side of caution and limitation for respect of other’s privacy etc.
    I imagine if the earth had a mood ring glow to it, it would probably be an unhappy red lately.

  • Mr. Peabody… the DeplorAble

    In the tenth grade , “Electricity 101 class , Mr. McCallum class.
    I sat next to a kid named Steve Wozniak.
    Mr. McCallum has gone on to his reward ….
    But he should be mentioned as a great teacher !

  • The Gooch

    Just leaked:

    The next iPhone will pretty much be the same as the one released six months before it but cost 30% more.

  • RLABruce

    So Apple employees assert they have the authority to stop the lawful operation of a drone? Aircraft have a universal right of passage over their airspace, and that includes drones.

  • David Frucht

    Drones, on any level, are a threat to us all. This is the way to deal with them

  • Luke Jones

    Hi everyone,

    Just to clarify. No attempts at fake news. We found a story we liked and wrote about it. There was an unfortunate and obvious error that was edited as soon as we found it. These things do happen and I apologize. I just want to make it clear that some commenters have not mis-read and have just written before the edit was made.

  • Captain Jack

    If you flew there “as a hobbyist” for your own pleasure you still must notify ATC (San Jose). You are in the surface area of San Jose Class C Airspace and not in compliance with 14 CFR Part 101, if you did not. I hope they catch you if you do not follow the rules. Also, if you injure someone and they find you, the lawyers are going to drain you dry.

  • Captain Jack

    Oh, the building is a “Home Button” not a “Spaceship”. Look at an iPad or iPhone.