Home Forums Apple Mac + Windows PC App Tracking Transparency in iOS

  • This topic has 2 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 1 week ago by starman.
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  • #4863 Reply
    Roland Waddilove

    After talking about App Tracking Transparency for what seems like a year or more, it is finally here and in iOS 14.5 and all versions to come. However, there is some confusion around this feature and a bug.

    What does it do? When you open an app, a popup message is displayed asking if want to allow or block tracking. By not allowing tracking, you are more private and less information is shared with the developer or third parties.

    The bug I am hearing is that for some people, the feature is greyed out and it cannot be turned on or off. Go to Settings > Privacy > Tracking and turn it on to see the privacy popups and have the option to block or allow tracking.

    There is also confusion over how it works and some people see nothing. They run an app like Facebook, which tracks you, and there is no popup and no opportunity to block tracking.

    This is due to the way that Apple is enforcing this new privacy feature. It requires app developers to put some code in their apps. Any new app or any updated app submitted to the App Store must contain the App Tracking Transparency code.

    If an app is not new and not updated, it does not have the code and therefore it will not trigger the App Tracking Transparency popup message.

    If an app is not new and never updated, it can continue to track you and you will never see the popup opt-out.

    If you have automatic app updates turned off on your iPhone, no apps will be updated and so no option to block tracking will be shown. If or when you manually update, you will see it with the updated apps.

    If you install an app from the App Store that was released or updated before iOS 14.5 came out, it will not have the code and will not show the tracking option popup.


    #4879 Reply

    This has been a big let-down for me – it was over-promised and under-delivered. It has been a week since I installed iOS 14.5 with App Tracking Transparency and I have only ever seen one notification to opt out. That was the Microsoft Outlook app on my iPhone.

    I don’t know why other apps on my iPhone have not triggered the tracking option popup. Maybe they don’t have tracking. Who knows? Maybe this whole tracking thing is overblown and isn’t as common as we thought. Maybe I just don’t have many apps that track me. I read somewhere that it is more common in games and I don’t have any on my iPhone.

    This morning I updated Facebook and installed a new version. Still no option not to track. I thought Facebook tracked everything? If so, why did the App Tracking Transparency popup not appear? I am confused.

    This is not what I was expecting from everything I have read about it.

    #4913 Reply

    Another thing with App Tracking Transparency on the iPhone is that if you choose to block tracking, it does not block all tracking, only some tracking. You are still tracked!

    I will use Facebook as an example, but it is the same with other apps and services.

    What App Tracking Transparency stops is tracking outside of the app. It does not stop tracking inside the app. This means that even if you choose to block Facebook tracking, you only prevent Facebook from tracking you outside of the app (Facebook has ways of tracking you when using other apps through ads and programmers’ code libraries).

    When you open the Facebook app on your iPhone, iPad, Mac or anywhere else and use it, Facebook tracks everything you do. Facebook can build a profile of you and can record everything you do and say within Facebook.

    All apps are allow to track users within their own app. Don’t assume you are preventing tracking by turning off ATT for apps like Facebook and others. The only way to prevent tracking is to turn off ATT for Facebook and then never to use Facebook again.


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