Apple is introducing a new feature which is designed to offer users even more transparency about how apps gather, track and monetize their personal consumer data and provide more control on whether to allow it.
Coming with the next update to iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and tvOS 14 (it will be called iOS 14.5), App Tracking Transparency will now require app developers to ask the user for permission before tracking their data across apps and websites that might even be owned by other companies.
In the settings, users will now be able to designate the apps which need to ask for their permission to track your data.
Not many people understand the complexity of the large and cloaked industry of data tracking, trading and real-time auctions which use your data as currency.
This tracking data is used to direct ads and campaigns to users across the internet with the results seen even on other apps, websites and social media platforms.
App users have no idea about the sheer amount of data being collected every single day – something they had no control over – until now.
Apple has always had strong views about privacy and the company has backed that with features and settings that respected user privacy and offered transparency on how their data was handled.
In terms of data minimisation, Apple collects the minimum amount of data required to provide a service or experience.
Apple also provides transparency so users know what data is being collected and also have control over it.
And on the security front, Apple’s hardware and software work together to keep the device secure.
With App Tracking Transparency, Apple had decided users deserved even more transparency – a move which has been praised by privacy advocates around the world.
Now when users open an app they will be greeted with a notification window which will allow them to choose whether they want their data to be tracked.
The notification will also specify how the data will be used and who will be using it.
To be clear, these data trackers do not include personal identifiable information but rather indicate what a user looks at, the sites they visit and the things they buys online so they can build a better profile of them as a customer to more accurately target ads that may meet these interests.
But if an app user grants permission to have their data tracked, developers can continue to do so.
Apple also recently created a new requirement for app developers to clearly display how a user’s personal data would be used – like a nutrition label on food packaging.
The App Tracking Transparency feature will be implemented with the next iOS update and will need to be activated in the settings.