Apple delays roll-out of app-tracking privacy measure on iOS

7 Sep 2020

Image: © Denys Prykhodov/

Apple has postponed the roll-out of a new privacy measure in iOS 14 that would prevent apps from tracking user behaviour online without permission.

Apple has confirmed that plans, which would require users to grant permission to have their activity tracked by advertisers, have been delayed. The new policy was due to launch soon with iOS 14 and would have told users of iPads and iPhones when a platform was using the Identification for Advertisers (IDFA) code linked to individual devices.

IDFA is used by many developers to track ad performance across devices and target users with specific campaigns. Now, according to the BBC, Apple has confirmed that the privacy measure will be pushed out into 2021 to give developers and websites more time to adapt to the change.

Currently, iOS users can switch off IDFA through their device, but once the new version of the operating system is launched, it will be switched on by default, with advertisers needing to seek permission to access the user’s code. Soon, app developers will also need to make it clear to users what data they use and how they are tracked in their App Store page.

An unwanted change for some

Facebook was one of the loudest critics of the privacy update claiming that the ability to deliver targeted ads on iOS 14 “will be limited” and could see revenue for publishers on its Audience Network drop by 50pc. However, Facebook also claimed that the move will have “less impact” on its own business.

In a blog post earlier this month, the social network said: “This is not a change we want to make, but unfortunately Apple’s updates to iOS 14 have forced this decision.”

Soon after that, Facebook claimed that Apple blocked a message informing users of a 30pc App Store fee on sales in a new product. Facebook previously announced it was to launch a new tool that would allow influencers and online businesses to make extra money during the Covid-19 pandemic by hosting paid events online.

Facebook then alleged that when it brought this concept to Apple for approval with the store fee message included, the multi-trillion dollar company blocked it claiming it was “irrelevant” information to users.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic