Apple says it will roll out a new privacy control in the spring to prevent iPhone apps from secretly tailing people. The delay in expected rollout is aimed at calming Facebook and other digital services that depend on such data monitoring to help sell ads.
Although Apple didn’t give a specific date, the general schedule released on Thursday means that a long-awaited feature called App Tracking Transparency will be part of an iPhone software update that is expected to be out in late March or sometime in April.
The planned introduction of protection in September amid an outcry led by Facebook, Apple had previously announced that it would be released earlier this year. Apple released the latest update as part of Data Privacy Day, which CEO Tim Cook will welcome during a speech on Thursday at a technology conference in Europe.
Apple has held back to give Facebook and other app makers more time to adjust to a feature that requires iPhone users to give their explicit consent to be tracked. The same protection should apply in the latest round of operating systemsand Apple TVs too.
Currently, apps are automatically assigned a tracking code, unless users of iPhones and other Apple devices have the extra effort of changing their privacy policies themselves.
Analysts expect a significant number of users to be denied this permission once their consent is required. Currently, iPhone users are often followed by apps they install unless they go into a phone’s settings to prevent it.
Facebook knocks out
Facebook stepped up its attacks on Apple’s new privacy controls last month in a series of full-page ads in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other national newspapers. This campaign suggested that some free digital services are hampered if they cannot collect personal information to customize ads.
On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg questioned Apple’s motives for making the changes, saying the iPhone maker has “every incentive” to use its own mobile platform to disrupt competitors of its own messaging app.
“Apple may say they are doing this to help people, but the steps are clearly in their competitive interests,” Zuckerberg said.
Google, which also relies on personally identifiable information to run the internet’s largest advertising network, has not joined Facebook in its public criticism of Apple’s upcoming follow-up controls. Google benefits from being the default search engine on the iPhone, an estimated position that Apple pays an estimated $ 9-12 billion annually for.
However, in a blog post on Wednesday, Google warned that Apple’s new controls will have a significant impact on the advertising revenue generated from iPhones on its digital network. Google said a “handful” of its iPhone apps will be affected by the new requirement, but did not identify which ones.
“We remain committed to maintaining a vibrant and open app ecosystem where users can access a wide range of ad-supported content, with the confidence that their privacy and choices will be respected,” wrote Christophe Combette. Group product manager for Google Ads.
Apple also released an 11-page report to illustrate how much apps can learn about their users in everyday life.
In addition, aprompted the company to release updates for iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 on Tuesday. An anonymous researcher found that attackers could potentially hack certain iPhones, iPads, and iPods remotely.