Apple is all set to release a new feature that will entail developers asking for permission to track iOS users for ad targeting. The long-awaited update is, at last, going live sometime in spring for non-beta users. It was initially planned to be released in September 2021 but Apple decided to give developers and websites more time to adapt to the new policy. The update will begin with beta versions of iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14, app.
What does this mean for users?
The new feature is part of Apple’s latest AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework. This new obligation will mark a momentous shift in how mobile app developers can collect data on iPhone owners and share that data with other firms, including data brokers, to aid in advertising. As of now users can simply go to settings disable tracking but with this new update, users will no longer have to disable it manually but now developers will be forced to ask permission.
Apple provided some insight by making the following statement in December, “Our goal is to create technology that keeps people’s information safe and protected. We believe privacy is a fundamental human right, and our teams work every day to embed it in everything we make,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior VP of software engineering, said in a statement.
What does this feature change?
Apple has made it clear that developers have to comply with the new regulations otherwise they will be suspended or removed from the App Store. It seems to keep using App Store; developers will have to make concessions.
Previously, the main way advertisers were able to deliver personalized ads was via the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), which is linked to your device. It is collected by the first app you visit, and shared with the second. That allows those apps to serve targeted ads and to measure whether the ad worked, for instance, if you ended up purchasing that clothes you saw in an Instagram ad by clicking an ad for the company’s online store in Google Chrome. However, the new update will make developers ask consent from Apple device owners to allow their IDFA to be collected and shared across apps.
The upgrade is already facing major backlash
The upgrade is not even out yet and it has faced extreme criticism from developers especially Facebook. The tech giant is so opposed to the feature that it even released a full-page newspaper ad in protest. It tried to make the protest about how it is concerned for the small businesses and their ability to run personalized ads. Furthermore, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg said, “Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own,” “This impacts the growth of millions of businesses around the world, including with the upcoming iOS 14 changes.” Zuckerberg added that “Apple may say they’re doing this to help people but the moves clearly track their competitor interests.”
Whereas, Google retaliated with a strategy of its own. It declared that its iOS apps will stop tracking users for advertising purposes altogether and advertisers “may see a significant impact to their Google ad revenue on iOS after Apple’s ATT policies take effect.”
Apple is adamant about the upgrade’s implementation. It claims that the entire debacle is about the user’s right to choose not to be tracked by apps. Additionally, the tech mogul says that the upgrade will apply to its apps as well. It is worth noting that Apple has never been accused of sharing information it collects with third parties. Its claim to protect user’s privacy is backed up by the ad personalization toggle already present in settings.
It seems this pro-privacy upgrade is all set to be released as scheduled despite the backlash. Developers will have to comply with the rules or stop using the App store and miss being part of such a major market. Apple has left companies with little choice and is determined to fight rather than just give up.
When this feature is implemented we can be sure to observe some volatility in the market since it completely changes certain aspects of advertisements. Apple is becoming a pioneer in protecting user rights rather than its counterpart, Facebook, which has been caught data sharing multiple times. This policy may not be popular with companies but may win users over.
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