Apple has shared more details about the upcoming privacy feature App Tracking TransparencyWhich allows users to control, on an app-by-app level, whether their data is shared for ad targeting purposes.
In a sense, anyone using the current version of iOS can see App Tracking Transparency in action, given that iOS includes a tracking list in privacy settings, and some apps have begun to ask users for permission to track them.
But when iOS 14.5 (currently in developer beta) is released to the public sometime in early spring, Apple begins enforcing its new rules, which means iPhone users are likely to start seeing more requests.
These requests appear at various points while using the app, but they all carry a unified message asking if the app can track your activity across other companies’ apps and websites, followed by a custom explanation from the developer.
Once an app requests this permission, it also appears in the tracking menu, where users can toggle between turning on and off tracking the app at any time.
They can also enable app tracking across all apps or unsubscribe from these requests altogether with a single switch.
These rules are not limited to the IDFA identifier, which is controlled by Apple directly, and a company spokesperson said: When a user chooses to stop tracking, Apple expects developers to stop using any other identifiers to track users for the purposes of targeting ads and not to share this information with data brokers.
However, this does not prevent developers from tracking users across multiple apps if all of those apps are run by a single company.
An Apple spokesman said: The Apple applications adhere to these rules, however, you will not see any requests from Apple, given that it does not track users through third-party applications for the purposes of targeting ads.
Facebook has been vocal in criticizing the change, arguing that it hurts small businesses that use targeting to run effective ad campaigns, and that the change benefits Apple’s profits.