New iOS pop-ups can include a short message explaining why a developer wants users to turn on tracking, essentially an outline of the potential benefits. And pop-ups won’t appear if a developer follows you on their own services, like Facebook following you from their main platform on Messenger and Instagram. You’re probably assuming that platforms owned by the same parent company would (or at least could) share data; The biggest problem Apple wants to solve is tracking services that you don’t intuitively think have any type of relationship.
If you notice that Facebook pops up frequently in examples about the impact of Apple’s tracking transparency initiative, it’s because the company has been vocal and aggressive in its objections. Facebook CFO Dave Wehner has mentioned privacy initiatives around IDFA as a concern in numerous corporate earnings calls since late 2019. And in December, Facebook ran a series of announcements in full page newspapers with the line: for small businesses around the world. A website associated with the Facebook campaign says, “Apple’s latest update threatens the personalized ads that millions of small businesses rely on to find and reach customers.”
Facebook also takes issue with Apple’s characterization that this type of data sharing should really be called “tracking.” Facebook refers to it as “what Apple defines as” tracking “” in its support materials for developers and enterprises.
Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to the allegations in December, Tweeter, “We believe that users should have a choice between what data is collected about them and how it is used. Facebook can continue to follow users on apps and websites as before. The transparency of app tracking in iOS 14 will just require them to ask for your permission first. “
Ad in June 2020, Apple had originally planned to start asking developers to support ATT for the launch of iOS 14 in September 2020. The company has released another addition of iOS 14, its application “privacy labels», In December 2020. But amid the industry backlash, the company delayed the ATT requirement “to give developers time to make the necessary changes”.
“It was very necessary. I wish this didn’t get delayed, ”says Will Strafach, longtime iOS security researcher and creator of the Guardian Firewall app. “Nonetheless, this is a fantastic step towards adding some level of awareness to users in plain English about what the apps are doing.”
While the tracking changes in iOS 14.5 are significant, they don’t extend beyond the walled garden that is iOS. Kint likens the immediate impact to compressing one part of a water balloon: the liquid simply expands on the other side. Platforms like Android and the web on most browsers will still allow tracking, and marketers can focus even more heavily on this. But Apple’s step with ATT could ultimately spark broader change.
For now, however, just download iOS 14.5 if you have an iPhone and be prepared to start tapping “Ask app not to track” every time you see it. Especially in places you’ve never seen coming.
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