Image source: Apple
Apple has just announced that it will delay its new privacy rule for iOS 14 where developers and advertisers would be required to ask for user permission to track their data across Apple devices. Apple posted in its update that it will move this change to early 2021 to give app developers and ad publishers more time to prepare for this policy change.
"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." - Apple
Apple provides a feature, called Identification for Advertisers (IDFA), to prompt users to opt out of data gathering and sharing with third-parties. However, it hasn’t been imposed or widely used. With the new change, all app publishers and advertisers will be required to obtain user permission to track their data (an opt in), which could be a big deal for apps like Facebook that heavily rely on third-party advertising if the majority of their users will decline.
This delay must be a relief for many advertisers and apps offering ad services. However, it’s still something they will need to face and adapt to in the coming months. IDFA helps publishers monitor the effectiveness of their ads across apps and websites within Apple devices. For example, it tracks how many users click on an ad on Instagram and are taken to a shop to buy something. If suddenly, a big chunk of this data disappeared, it would be detrimental to ad networks who make money by selling this data.
This is a big push from Apple to encourage developers to be transparent about their data sharing. But it also begs the question of how free apps like Facebook or TikTok will adapt to the potential impact to their ad revenues. It’ll also be interesting to see how Google will react to this and whether they will also implement a similar policy, which could impact a range of their own products.
Apple wants to enforce more privacy measures to its customers and ensure user data isn’t abused. With the iOS 14 privacy update later this year, developers will need to provide additional privacy information which will be listed on their app page on the App Store. They will need to provide an explanation about how they collect and use data to give more clarity to the user.