App Tracking Transparency coming soon to Apple devices

App Tracking Transparency feature for iPhones, iPads coming really soon, confirms Apple

Apple device owners will have the ultimate power to decide whether to share or reject user-data tracking and collection.

Last month, Apple launched the app privacy labels on the Apple App Store. The company made it mandatory for application developers to display a simple summary-- across all platforms (iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS) --about the app's privacy practices which details what type of user-information they are tracking and collecting from the device. 

Besides that, Apple had also promised to bring an App Tracking Transparency feature that will give users the option to turn off all permission (given during installation) for the app thus blocking it from tracking and collecting user information. It is finally coming soon.

The company had given prior notice to all application developers of the upcoming new feature. Some including Facebook have vehemently opposed the Cupertino company's move.

In December 2020, Mark Zuckerberg-owned firm published massive full-page ad campaigns on the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Posts, and other print media in the US. It accused Apple's diktat will severely hurt small companies, which are struggling to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown.


Apple's new App Privacy label feature. Credit: Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook shot back suggesting that users should have the ultimate right over their personal data and they themselves should decide whether to share or not with the application, and not the other way around.

Must read | CEO Tim Cook responds to Facebook's ad criticising Apple

The company has announced App Tracking Transparency feature will be tested in the beta version of the upcoming iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14 series update. If things go as planned, it will be released to the public this spring, most probably in a month's time.

Under Settings, users will be able to see which apps have requested permission to track and make changes as they see fit. 


App Tracking Transparency feature for the Facebook app on Apple iPhone. Credit: Apple

“Privacy means peace of mind, it means security, and it means you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to your own data,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. 

“Our goal is to create technology that keeps people’s information safe and protected. We believe privacy is a fundamental human right, and our teams work every day to embed it in everything we make,” Federighi added.

Also, Apple launched 'A Day in the life of your Data' campaign that revolves around the story of a father and his daughter. It reveals how application companies track and store user-data for free and monetise them. Also, how the tools offered by Apple can be used to block the tracking. (full details, here).

"A complex ecosystem of websites, apps, social media companies, data brokers, and ad tech firms track users online and offline, harvesting their personal data. This data is pieced together, shared, aggregated, and monetized, fueling a $227 billion-a-year industry. This occurs every day, as people go about their daily lives, often without their knowledge or permission," Apple said.  

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