iOS 14.5 Adds App Tracking Transparency

Stock Catalog

Updating your iOS can be tedious and time-consuming, but the latest update (iOS 14.5) may be worth the hassle for one compelling reason- App Tracking Transparency.

Tracking activity across all accounts and all applications seems to be a privacy breach that we’ve all just signed up for and pretended wasn’t happening for a long time. There are good things that come from it, for sure. With an understanding of certain demographics, advertising agencies can whip up really specific and amusing adverts for us. With the location tracking feature, Google can tell you when the best time to go to your local grocery store is if you want to avoid the crowds and long lines. Almost everyone has had that “Facebook Ad Experience” where you’re casually talking about wanting to buy a new jacket with a friend and the next time you log into your social media profiles, they’re full of nothing but North Face ads. It’s not a secret and it’s not a conspiracy; Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, has this to say:

“The digital advertising business has been mostly built off of micro-targeting audiences. Facebook, as an example, has code embedded in millions of apps to collect data to target audiences wherever it wants as promptly as possible…”

Sometimes it’s convenient, sometimes it’s scary, but shouldn’t it be up to the consumer whether it happens at all? Sure, you could just not have a phone, but that is not going to be an easy transition in today’s world.

Fortunately for Apple iPhone users, a little bit of transparency and a little bit of autonomy have just been added back into the equation. Starting with the iOS 14.5 update, iPhone will require all of your apps will display a pop-up asking you, “Do you want to allow this app to track your activity across other companies’ apps and websites?” You can say no!

Of course, plenty of corporations who benefit from this kind of aggressive tracking are really upset by this recent change as it could mean less $$$ mined from your personal information, but Apple is staying firm in their new policies, reminding nay-sayers that consumers should absolutely have a choice in what, if any, of their personal data will be shared and sold to advertisers.

Personally, I’m really excited about this change; I’ve been freaking out ever since I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix a few months ago and even if I do choose to continue sharing my information with various apps and companies, at least my consent for this sharing will be that much more explicit and clear-cut and I can know that it is MY decision.

What do you think? Are you happy about this opportunity to exercise some autonomy over your data? Does this just totally not even ring a bell of relevance for you? Are you seeing any potential downsides for the consumer? Let us know!