Apple Introduces App Tracking Transparency to Its New iOS 14.5

With iOS 14.5, Apple finally fulfilled the promise made at WWDC last summer, giving iPhone and iPad users more control over the way application developers track and collect data.

What is App Tracking Transparency (ATT) ?

App Tracking Transparency (ATT) is a new feature in iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS 14.5.

If an app wants to track your activities on other companies’ apps and websites, it needs to request permission. Your Apple device has a unique number called an “Advertising Identifier” that can be used to uniquely identify your device in order to locate and track ads. By correlating this identifier with other information, application developers can create incredibly detailed records of how you use your iPhone or iPad, even on other applications and the web. 

After installing iOS 14.5, Apple requires all applications to use the new AppTrackingTransparency framework to request your tracking permission.

This only applies to tracking activities outside of the company’s own app! For example, Facebook can track your activities on Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp without asking, but if they want to know how you interact with other companies’ applications, or track you on the websites you visit, they’ll ask you for permission.

How to Utilize App Tracking Transparency

Other than installing the new iOS 14.5, you don’t really need to do anything to start using ATT. Any app that wants to track you in another company’s app or on the web will ask you via a pop-up notification.

It’s a lot like the notification you see when an app wants to use your location, camera, microphone, or other features that may violate your privacy. You can choose “Require applications not to track” or “Allow”.

Can I disable tracking for all applications?

If you don’t want to be asked about tracking questions every time you download a new app, you can also disable it in the tracking settings. At the top of the screen, you will see a switch that allows the application to request tracking.

If you select this feature, the switch will be displayed in green, and if you have not selected it, it will be gray. Once disabled, the app will not even ask you again, as if you automatically chose to ask the app not to track or in all apps. iOS will even ask you if you want previously allowed apps to stop tracking you, so you can turn them off all at once.

Please note that you can return to this screen at any time to change your mind, whether it is global or individual applications. 

Who isn’t happy with the new iOS capability?

Well, you guessed it right, social media platforms and e-commerce sites and businesses. In order words online advertisers!!  

One of which is Facebook!!!  

Facebook has warned that the app update could cut the money earned through its ad network by half, hitting small businesses the hardest. 

And it argues that sharing data with advertisers is key to giving users “better experiences”. 

It also says that Apple is being hypocritical, because it will force businesses to turn to subscriptions and other in-app payments for revenue, from which Apple takes a cut. via BBC.com