Apple’s new privacy features rattle the location-based ad market

Location Services lists the apps that have asked for permission to use location data, and users can control and edit these permissions.
iOS 13’s Location Services lists the apps that have asked for permission to use location data, and users can control and edit these permissions.

Apple’s focus on user privacy is shaking up the location-based advertising industry.

Seb Joseph for Digiday:

Apple’s iOS 13 update, released in September, includes regular reminders when apps are sucking up a user’s location data. The pop-up gives a user a chance to choose from the following options: allowing data collection at all times, or only when the app is open — or only one time. Four months in, ad tech sources are reporting the result that some observers had predicted: There’s less location data coming from apps.

Right now opt-in rates to share data with apps when they’re not in use are often below 50%, said Benoit Grouchko, who runs the ad tech business Teemo that creates software for apps to collect location data. Three years ago those opt-in rates were closer to 100%, he said… Seven in 10 of the iPhone users tracked by location-verification business Location Sciences downloaded iOS 13 in the six weeks after it first became available, and 80% of those users stopped all background tracking across their devices.

There is a silver lining: The location data that still remains available to advertisers is all the more valuable. And the market for location data is still active, according to ad tech executives.

MacDailyNews Note: With Apple devices, you have control over what you share. Privacy is built in from the beginning, from the moment you open your new device to every time you use an app.

Sometimes it’s useful for your device to know your location, like when you’re setting up meetings in Calendar or getting directions. Location Services on your device uses a combination of GPS, Bluetooth, and crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile towers to figure out where you are. Apple gives you control over the collection and use of this location data on all your devices. You have the choice to enable Location Services when you first set up your device — it’s not on by default. And once you turn it on, you can always change your mind and turn it off.

Learn how Apple’s Location Services protects your privacy in Apple’s “Location Services Privacy Overview”.


  1. But… but… but there are a couple of billion Android smartphones out there to receive ads on, so who needs the iPhone. /s

    All my devices use ad-blockers, so I’m not really bothered by ad very much. I have ad-blocking turned off on MDN because I use it practically every day and I want it to survive.

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