Apple’s Next iOS 14 Update Will Force Apps to Ask for Permission Before Tracking You

Apple’s Next iOS 14 Update Will Force Apps to Ask for Permission Before Tracking You

Apple is releasing a new iOS 14 update that will require all iPhone, iPad and Apple TV apps to receive users’ permission before their data can be used for tracking and targeted advertising.

Apple announced its new App Tracking Transparency privacy measure will roll out in the next beta version of iOS 14.

This update will prompt notifications for users when opening an app which asks for their permission to allow that app to track them or access their device’s advertising identifier (IDFA).

What are these apps tracking?

apple app transparency tracking concept
Image: Apple

The tracking that Apple is referring to is the act of linking user or device data collected from an app with that user’s data collected from other companies’ apps or websites for targeted advertising purposes.

Apple’s website also lists these examples of tracking:

  • Displaying targeted advertisements in your app based on user data collected from apps and websites owned by other companies.
  • Sharing device location data or email lists with a data broker.
  • Sharing a list of emails, advertising IDs, or other IDs with a third-party advertising network that uses that information to retarget those users in other developers’ apps or to find similar users.
  • Placing a third-party SDK in your app that combines user data from your app with user data from other developers’ apps to target advertising or measure advertising efficiency, even if you don’t use the SDK for these purposes. For example, using an analytics SDK that repurposes the data it collects from your app to enable targeted advertising in other developers’ apps.

Apple noted that if an app shares data with a broker that is used solely for fraud prevention or security purposes then this does not require permission through the App Tracking framework.

App developers will need to use the App Tracking Transparency framework to prompt users for permission and include an explanation of why they would like to track them.

If users select ‘Ask App not to track’ then Apple will block the app’s developer from accessing their IDFA.

When is this update happening?

According to The Verge, Apple had intended for this update to go live with the initial launch of iOS 14. However, the company delayed this decision in order to give developers more time to prepare for the change.

The App Tracking Transparency framework is set to go live in the next iOS 14 beta, with a full release set for sometime in early Spring — or Autumn for us in the Southern Hemisphere.

This isn’t the first data privacy initiative Apple has introduced recently. Not long ago, its ‘privacy nutrition labels‘ were implemented into the App store. These labels require developers to publicly display on the app store which data their app will use to track and identify users.