Amidst uproar about data privacy issues involving Facebook and Google, Apple is taking a step in helping users take control of their personal data and protecting them from data tracking.
In June, Apple had announced certain updates to iOS 14 that, among other changes, required apps to ask users for permission to collect and share data using Apple’s device identifier.
Facebook immediately warned that Apple’s planned changes will disproportionately affect Audience Network due to its heavy dependence on app advertising. Facebook’s Audience Network helps developers and publishers monetize their mobile apps and websites by showing highly targeted ads that match the interests of their users.
Apple revealed that apps on average include six “trackers” from other companies, which have the sole purpose of collecting and tracking people and their personal information. Data thus collected are pieced together, shared, aggregated, and monetized, fueling an industry valued at $227 billion per year.
In the iPhone maker’s next beta update, App Tracking Transparency will require apps to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across apps or websites owned by other companies.
Under Settings, users will be able to see which apps have requested permission to track, and make changes as they see fit. This requirement is expected to roll in early spring with an upcoming release of iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14, and has already gained support from privacy advocates around the world.
Last year, Apple had launched a number of important privacy features intended to help users make more informed decisions about their data as part of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14.
Under the new privacy information section on App Store product pages, Apple is requiring every app, including its own, to give users an easy-to-view summary of the developer’s privacy practices. This feature is called the privacy nutrition label.
Apple has led the industry by building privacy protections into every one of its products and services. Way back in 2005 , Safari was the first browser to block third-party cookies by default. Safari also added Intelligent Tracking Prevention to further limit tracking in iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra.
In 2018, Apple introduced protections to prevent companies from fingerprinting Mac, a practice in which third parties try to identify users devices based on data like fonts and plug-ins.
Apple provided these details in an explainer called “A Day in the Life of Your Data” to commemorate January 28 as Data Privacy Day. It illustrates how companies track user data across websites and apps.
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