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IOS 14.5 lets you stop ads from chasing you – so do it

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The new iOS pop-ups may include a brief message as to why a developer would want users to enable tracking, essentially an idea of ​​what the benefits could be. And the popups won’t show up when a developer is tracking you through their own services e.g. B. Facebook, which follows you from its main platform via Messenger and Instagram. You probably assume that platforms owned by the same parent company would (or at least could) exchange data; The bigger problem Apple wants to address is tracking across services that you intuitively wouldn’t think have any kind of relationship.

If you find Facebook making frequent examples of the impact of Apple’s Tracking Transparency initiative, it’s because the company is loud and aggressive in its objections. Dave Wehner, CFO of Facebook, has cited IDFA data protection initiatives in many corporate earnings phone calls since late 2019 as a concern for small businesses everywhere. ”A website accompanying the Facebook campaign reads:“ The latest update from Apple threatens the personalized advertising that millions of small businesses rely on to find and reach customers. “

Facebook also denies Apple’s characterization that this type of data exchange should actually be called “tracking” at all. Facebook calls it “what Apple defines as” tracking “in its developer and corporate support docs.

Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to the claims in December, tweeting, “We believe users should have a choice about what data is collected about them and how it is used. As before, Facebook can track users across apps and websites. App tracking transparency in iOS 14 just requires them to ask for your permission first. “

Announced in June 2020, Apple originally planned to require developers to support ATT for the launch of iOS 14 in September 2020. The company started rolling out another iOS 14 addition, its Privacy Labels app, in December 2020. Backlash, the company delayed the ATT requirement “to give developers time to make necessary changes”.

“That was urgently needed. I wish it wouldn’t be delayed, ”said Will Strafach, longtime iOS security researcher and creator of the Guardian Firewall app. “Still, it’s a fantastic step towards creating a level of clear English user awareness of the functionality of apps.”

While the tracking changes in iOS 14.5 are significant, they don’t extend beyond iOS’s walled garden. Kint compares the immediate impact to the squeezing of part of a water balloon: the liquid simply expands to the other side. Platforms like Android and the web will continue to provide tracking in most browsers, and marketers will be able to focus even more on it. But Apple’s move with ATT could ultimately spark wider change.

For now, though, just download iOS 14.5 if you have an iPhone and get ready to tap “Don’t Track App” when you see it. Especially in places you never see coming.

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