Apple Inc delays debut of anti-tracking tool in iPhone software

Topics Apple Inc | privacy | iPhone

Apple is delaying a new privacy feature in the next version of its iPhone operating system that will make it more difficult for app makers to track people online to help sell digital ads.

The decision outlined on Thursday affects iOS 14, which is expected to be released as a free software upgrade to roughly a billion iPhone users later this month.

Apple intended iOS 14 to automatically block tracking as soon as it came out, but the company now says it will hold back the tool until early next year.

The same safeguard was supposed be in the next operating systems for iPads and Apple TVs, too.

The feature would require apps to explicitly ask users to permission to collect and share data about their online behavior through a unique code that identifies every iPhone.

That requirement raised fears that most people would block the tracking, making it more difficult for free apps to sell the ads that generate most of their revenue.

Currently, apps are automatically given a tracking code unless users of iPhones and other Apple devices go to the extra trouble of changing their privacy controls on their own.

Facebook, which runs the largest digital ad network behind Google, last week warned that the new privacy feature in iOS 14 threatened to deliver a major blow to many apps at a time they are already struggling amid a coronavirus-triggered recession.

Although Apple is postponing the new anti-tracking tool, the Cupertino, California, company emphasised that it shouldn't be interpreted as a sign it is backing down from its outspoken commitment to protect the privacy of its customers as a fundamental right.

We want to give developers the time they need to make the necessary changes" to apps and advertising models, the company said in a statement.

Apple's postponement disappointed those trying to combat the digital surveillance that's inherent in online tracking, said Craig Danuloff, CEO of The Privacy Co., which recently introduced its own privacy app to help protect iPhone users from prying eyes.

One can only see this delay as harming millions of users who do not at all understand the level of tracking that's going on," Danuloff said.


(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel