With iOS 14, Apple gives you the power to allow or block iPhone apps from tracking you. This means, if an app wants to collect your information for targeted advertising and track across third-party apps & sites, it needs your explicit consent to do so. In a world where everyone is thirsty for data, Apple ensures yours is protected by forcing apps to get your approval (see the pop-up in the image below). Additionally, you also have the option to turn off cross-app tracking entirely on your iPhone. Let me show how.
How to stop iPhone apps from tracking you across sites and apps in iOS 14
- Open the iPhone Settings app in iOS 14.
- Tap Privacy.
- Tap Tracking.
- Turn off the switch for ‘Allow Apps to Request to Track.’
Let us briefly learn more about Ad Tracking
For a moment, assume you are searching for Samsung’s latest Galaxy S21 on a shopping app or website. Now, this app, if granted your consent, may place a shareable cookie on your iPhone that can be used by other partner ad networks. Courtesy of that shopping app (and the cookie), the ad network would know that you are interested in Galaxy S21. Now, when you visit any other app or website that uses this partnering ad network, you will see ads for Samsung Galaxy S21.
Is ad tracking useful for you?
‘Privacy’ should be a fundamental right. Earlier, companies had sort of a free hand. Now, if they want your device ID, email, and other such useful information for ads, iOS 14 just says, ‘hey, get the user’s permission, and then you can have access to this private info.’ Apple’s developer page talks in detail about this.
The targeted ad is not a crime. Sometimes, I see ads for great restaurants on Instagram only to find the restaurant is in another city. Thus, this ad is almost useless for me. I won’t click on it. But, when I see restaurant ads from my city, I often click to learn more about them.
So, we can conclude that it depends on user preference. If you wish to see relevant ads, you may let apps cross-track you. If you want privacy, iOS 14 now gives that power in your hands.
How is blocking ad tracking problematic for ad companies?
As evident from the above paragraph, ads work the best when they are relevant to the person. And to ensure that only relevant ads are served to the user, the ad network needs to have plenty of data and build a profile around you.
This may include your s*x, age, device, location, preferences, spending habits, and much more. And if you ask apps not to track you, they cannot gain access to these relevant pieces of information and thus, fail to serve the ads you may be interested in. This leads to fewer clicks, less relevancy, and limited revenue for the ad networks!
What are your thoughts on this? Let us hear in the comments down below.
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