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Earlier in 2021 Apple released its App Tracking Transparency (ATT). ATT is a feature that gives users more control over the ways apps track their behavior. That sounds promising. Maybe even revolutionary. Now the dust has settled and we can check whether or not App Tracking Transparency really benefits your privacy.
Since iOS 14.5 Apple automatically installs the App Tracking Transparency feature on your phone*. These privacy controls require each and every app to ask permission for tracking your activities. This prevents app developers from using a unique device ID to collect data on what you do on the internet and subsequently sell it to advertisers. When downloading a new app, users get a pop-up notification in which they can ask apps not to track your data or allow them to do so.
*iOS 14.5 is available for models ranging from iPhone SE to the iPhone 12.
Apple App Tracking Transparency allows you to block the tracking of your activities so it does benefit the privacy of most users. Pretty obvious, right? Well, there is a caveat. With ATT you can only block the tracking of your activities outside apps. You can disallow apps like Facebook or Instagram to track what you’re doing on the internet, but they still can see what you’re doing inside their own apps (which makes sense, we guess).
Does ATT mean you’ll get less personalized ads? Probably not. While they’re not as personalized as you might be used to, you still are shown targeted ads based on your interests or behavior. Within the current rules advertisers are allowed to target their ads at cohorts or groups of people based on certain characteristics since these groups aren’t based on unique device IDs.
Although Apple App Tracking Transparency feature falls short on protecting your personal data completely, it is still a massive step in the right direction. Nowadays ATT makes iPhones, iPads and other iDevices the first choice when you’re concerned about your privacy.