Apple users reject app tracking for advertising en masse

Cecilia Nysing

The vast majority of US iOS users have taken advantage of Apple’s iOS 14.5 update to prevent apps from tracking their activities for advertising purposes.In a major blow to Facebook, just 4% voluntarily consented to permit such tracking, severely undermining an advertising model that is founded on its ability to keep tabs on users, according to new research.

What effect has iOS 14.5 had?

  • Since rolling out at the end of last month, a scant 4% of Apple iOS 14.5 users have consented to allow apps to target them for ad targeting purposes, according to Verizon Media’s Flurry Analytics.

  • The privacy-first software update hands back control of tracking to the individual whenever an app is opened, updated or downloaded, with express permission now required before tracking can be enabled.

  • Privacy-conscious users can also mandate an across-the-board opt-out of all tracking requests without the need to laboriously reject each app individually.

  • As this functionality is buried deep within Apple’s system settings, just 3% have so far utilized this particular feature.

  • Early analysis by the analytics specialists bases their findings on data received from 2.5m devices to arrive at a consistent 4% figure within the US.

  • The picture is not much better worldwide, with global opt-in rates hovering at around 12%.

What ramifications has this had?

  • The findings constitute bad news for Facebook in particular, which has positioned itself in the vanguard of efforts to prevent the change from being implemented.

  • Facebook argues that the changes will undermine its ability to offer targeted advertising, damaging revenues for itself but also small businesses, which it has always argued consumers prefer.

  • Apple has also been adapting to the new regime, increasing the advertising acreage available on its App Store to enable app developers to advertise directly from the search tab.

  • In positioning itself as a consumer champion, Apple has severed advertisers’ control over their digital messaging, with ongoing ramifications for identity resolution, ad targeting and measurement.

// Featured in this article

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