Apple’s iPhone iOS 14.5 update is set to be released next week, and one of its new features will be a controversial tracking update.
Fresh from its Spring Loaded event, where we saw new iPad Pros, AirTags and a new purple colour for the iPhone 12, Apple has confirmed that a new iOS update is going to be available for download imminently.
As always the update will come with new features, including tools to help you find your lost items with the new AirTags, new Siri voices, Music app updates as well as PlayStation 5 and X Box Series X control pad support.
You’ll also be able to use your Apple Watch to unlock your iPhone, which is a useful feature if you’re wearing a facemask.
However, the feature that’s causing a bit of a stir is the new App Tracking Transparency (ATT). Apple states that ATT will give users increased privacy, as the tool forces advertisers to now specifically request permission to track users across different apps for advertising purposes.
This change to advertisers’ tracking has led to a public spat with a number of big businesses, including Facebook. Facebook has suggested that, not only will the new requirements have a significant impact on its business, but that Apple is misleading consumers by suggesting the ATT is about privacy, and that it’s actually just a way for Apple to make more money.
In response, Apple has stuck to its guns and insisted the new ATT requirements are geared towards privacy and getting a greater level of control over how advertisers target people with ads.
All apps will now have to specifically ask to be allowed to track users, which means you can stop an app from tracking you across other apps.
All apps submitted to the App Store will have to adhere to ATT. An Apple statement said: “With the upcoming public release of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5, all apps must use the AppTrackingTransparency framework to request the user's permission to track them or to access their device's advertising identifier. Unless you receive permission from the user to enable tracking, the device's advertising identifier value will be all zeros and you may not track them.”
So while it may be a controversial feature for advertisers, it seems like Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature might put a bit more control in your hands with regards to the ads you see and how apps track you.