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iPhone apps will follow you, but you can decline this later

You probably already knew that you can be followed by trackers while surfing the Internet. It is less well known that this can also be done with iPhone apps – and tracking doesn’t even require your permission. Apple will soon make short work of this in iOS 14, with the App Tracking Transparency function.

Apps tracking requests iOS 14

Today is Data Privacy Day, a good time for Apple to release something about the previously announced App Tracking Transparency. Apple has announced that the privacy function will be available ‘in the early spring’. This will be with an interim update of iOS 14.

With the function, apps are only allowed to track you if you have given your permission to do so. This works exactly as it does with Location Services now. When you open an app for the first time, you will receive a notification. Later, the preferences of the tracking requests can still be changed in ‘Settings> Privacy> Tracking’.

Ask app not to track

If a user chooses the option ‘Ask app not to track’, Apple blocks the developer from accessing the IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers). This is a kind of tracking cookie, but for iPhones. The developer must respect the user’s choice. If this doesn’t happen and they try to follow a user in another way, the app can be removed from the App Store, Apple warns.

By the way, the privacy function should have gone into effect with the release of iOS 14 in September. However, Apple postponed a mandatory App Tracking Transparency to give developers more time. Incidentally, it is already possible for developers to build in the privacy function, so you may have already seen the notification. Until now, however, this was not required and very few apps have already added it voluntarily.

Do you already know that you don’t want to be tracked by any app? Then you can already set that apps are not allowed to ask you for permission to follow you. In the Settings app, go to ‘Privacy> Tracking’ and set the option ‘Allow tracking requests from apps’ to gray. This works on both the iPhone and iPad.

Criticism

Many advertisers and companies have already criticized Apple’s feature, such as Facebook. The company claims the privacy feature will hurt many small businesses financially.

Google – with the largest advertising network in the world – is also not happy with the decision, although they did not openly attack Apple. Google did warn developers that the transparency of app tracking can lead to a ‘significant impact’ of ad revenue. Incidentally, Google chooses to stop collecting IDFAs completely, so the notification does not appear with Google’s apps.

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