Apple’s iOS 13 drops location data advertisers collect by 68%

According to Location Sciences, a firm that helps marketers analyze location data, since the launch of iOS 13 last fall, the amount of background location data that marketers collect has dropped by 68% and foreground data sharing, which occurs only while an app is open, dropped by 24%.

Jared Newman for Fast Company:

iOS 13 drops location data advertisers collect by 68%
iOS 13 gives users far more control over how often apps can access location data
With iOS, users have been able to stop any app from collecting location data in the background since 2017, but Apple gave this feature much more prominence in iOS 13. If an app is gathering location data while it’s not in use, iOS can show a pop-up with an option to cut off access. Apple also added a “just once” option in iOS 13 that requires apps to ask for location permission every time they’re opened.

Android’s location controls haven’t always been as useful, but the latest Android 10 release plays catchup with a similar “only while in use” setting when apps request location data.

With Apple and Google providing less ready access to GPS location data, marketers will likely turn to IP addresses for location tracking instead, says Location Sciences… Still, IP addresses are less accurate than the precise GPS coordinates that apps had been collecting previously, which means marketers will have a tougher time tracking your precise whereabouts. In practical terms, that means location-based advertising will probably get a lot dumber in the near term, as marketers lose the ability to determine what store you visited or where you had lunch.

MacDailyNews Take: Next, we’d really like to see Apple offer a secure VPN – Apple Privacy™ – as a service for users of Apple Macs and devices. Such a move would strongly reinforce the message that the company obviously wants to deliver: Apple is laser-focused on user privacy and security – much more so than an advertising company masquerading as a search engine using an iOS clone to weasel ads into users’ fake iPhones.


  1. Privacy is vital to a free and independent society; just a genuine private property is core to free-enterprise. Steve Jobs often quoted Henry Ford about customers not comprehending the car and thinking they merely needed a faster horse. Today, many may not yet appreciate their need for privacy. In the short run, this lack of understanding keeps privacy from being a valuable marketing tool. However, actual end-to-end encryption and related tools could be a real boon for the visionary entrepreneur.

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