Apple’s latest iPhone update, iOS 14.5, has a slew of new features that customers are certain to notice and like, including improved Face ID unlocking when wearing a mask (for Apple Watch users only), new emoji, compatibility for PS5 and Xbox Series X controllers, and more. However, the latest version includes a far more crucial and contentious new feature: App Tracking Transparency. That is the moniker given by Apple to a privacy feature that is shaping up to be the company’s next major battleground.
iPhone and iPad users will now get pop-ups in their apps asking if they want the app to “monitor your behavior across other firms’ apps and websites.” The user may then choose whether or not to enable the app to track and share their data with them. That small pop-up might cause major problems for businesses that generate money through targeted advertising.
How did ad tracking work on iOS before ?
Prior to iOS 14.5, developers could track user data from within an app using a variety of techniques. Advertisers may then use it in combination with comparable data from the rest of the web to generalize information about a person and use that profile to better target them with advertising.
Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), an Apple-controlled system that has been there for over a decade, has been the major tool available to developers until recently, although developers may also utilize various third-party tools and ways to cobble together user data.
What does App Tracking Transparency change?
It requires developers to give consumers a choice: after upgrading to iOS 14.5, any firm that wants to follow users and their data across multiple applications and websites must first seek permission using a standardized prompt established by Apple.
If consumers indicate that they are okay with being monitored (by selecting the “Allow” option), everything continues to function normally. However, if consumers select “Ask app not to track,” the developer will no longer be able to monitor customers using their data in that app or sell that data to other firms. Not with Apple’s IDFA system, nor with their own.
App Tracking Transparency has been lauded by organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which termed the notion of requiring firms to obtain permission before tracking people on the internet an “evident baseline.”
However, not everyone agrees with the concept, and Facebook has been the most vocal opponent of App Tracking Transparency. According to the report, Apple’s new method would make it more difficult and expensive for ad networks to readily target users, hurting small businesses that rely on highly focused ad campaigns.
Apple is also giving businesses the opportunity to make their case for enabling ad tracking. Developers will have control over when Apple’s question appears, allowing applications like Facebook, NBC News, and the BBC to make their argument to consumers for why they should enable tracking. And Facebook is doing exactly that, with a message to users attempting to persuade them of the benefits of receiving more targeted advertising and helping small companies.
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