UPDATE- 3:00 AM PT on Sept. 11th
UPDATE on September 10, 2020 at 1:00PM PT: We, along with the rest of the business community, continue to await final policy details from Apple. Given Apple’s delayed implementation of the user permission requirement, we will continue collecting IDFA on iOS 14 in an attempt to reduce unnecessary disruption to our customers’ businesses.
At the conference, Apple showcased iOS 14, arguably one of the biggest changes to the OS since iOS 7. Featuring homescreen widgets, App Library, a smaller call UI, and more. On the surface, its a great release. After the conference, we learned of new privacy features related to ad-tracking.
In previous iOS versions, users would have to manually opt-out of ad-tracking. In simpler terms, its the ability for apps and ad providers to track you across apps to provide you personalized ads on the web and within 3rd party apps. With iOS 14, developers would have to explicitly ask you whether they want to be tracked, by default.
As we approach iOS 14’s reported launch this month, Facebook and countless others have raised concerns over the new feature. Studies and Facebook themselves say their ad business would take a massive hit as they expect the majority of users to opt-out of the tracking. That anger amongst the industry has benefited Apple well, providing it great PR and respect with customers.
Unfortunately, it seems that “pro-privacy” persona is coming to an end, for now. Initially reported by The Information, Apple began informing developers that it would delay the launch of the feature until next year. Shortly after the report surfaced, Apple confirmed the change. In a statement, Apple says:
We want to give developers the time they need to make the necessary changes, and as a result, the requirement to use this tracking permission will go into effect early next year.Apple
Apple claims they’re delaying it to provide companies more time to find alternative ways to keep there ad business running. Even with good intent, it’s hard not to question the decision to delay. This all becomes more interesting as you focus in on the history between Apple and Facebook. Both companies are not new to causing a feud. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have both publicly gone after each other in terms of privacy. As Business Insider reported in March of 2019:
Responding to a question at its annual shareholder meeting here about how the company views privacy, Cook warned about “someone” assembling detailed dossiers on just about everyone and using that information to “pit one group against the other.”
“The idea that someone has built this enormous, detailed profile of you and of everybody in this room and then takes that detailed profile to … stir the pot, this is offensive to us,” Cook said, adding, “We think that’s it’s just wrong to do, and it should not exist.”
On the bright side, the feature will still come. What the delay means however is that Facebook and others will find new creative ways to track users, and continue to provide users personalized ads, even if that comes at the cost of privacy.