Apple is delaying its new rules around in-app ad tracking in iOS 14, postponing the disclosure requirement that had Facebook publicly fuming. Announced at WWDC 2020, Apple’s new feature was intended to make it plain to users that software could use data to deliver personalized adverts, and indeed track users across multiple apps and websites. iOS users would be presented with the option to allow or disallow such tracking.
At the time, Apple was praised by privacy advocates for taking the step, which could prevent iPhone and iPad users from unwittingly having their digital lives tracked and comprehensive profiles built on them for more specific advertising purposes.
However it was less popular with ad providers and networks. In August, Facebook called out the iOS 14 feature as having the potential to undermine its partner ad business. The change could leave its so-called Audience Network system “so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14,” Facebook said at the time.
Clearly someone at Apple has been listening to the feedback. Now, while iOS 14 will still support the new notification and the prompt to permit in-app tracking, developers won’t be penalized if their apps don’t show it. Instead it won’t be until sometime early in 2021 before Apple makes supporting the notification a requirement.
MacDailyNews Note: Regarding ad tracking in iOS 14, Apple’s statement to developers:
At Apple, we believe that privacy is a fundamental human right. As announced at WWDC20, App Store product pages will feature a new privacy information section to help users understand an app’s privacy practices. Today we are publishing more details for developers on what will be covered in this new privacy section. By the end of next month, you will be able to submit your information via App Store Connect to prepare for this feature rolling out to users by the end of the year.
In addition, on iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14, apps will be required to receive user permission to track users across apps or websites owned by other companies, or to access the device’s advertising identifier. We are committed to ensuring users can choose whether or not they allow an app to track them. To give developers time to make necessary changes, apps will be required to obtain permission to track users starting early next year. More information, including an update to the App Store Review Guidelines, will follow this fall.