Apple has shared a few more details about its much-discussed privacy changes in iOS 14. The company first announced at WWDC in June that app developers would have to ask users for permission in order to track and share their IDFA identifier for cross-property ad targeting purposes. While iOS 14 launched in the fall, Apple delayed the tracking restrictions until 2021, saying it wanted to give developers more time to make the necessary changes.
Now we’ve got a slightly-more-specific timeline. The plan is to launch these changes in early spring, with a version of the feature coming in the next iOS 14 beta release.
This is how Apple describes the new system: “Under Settings, users will be able to see which apps have requested permission to track, and make changes as they see fit. This requirement will roll out broadly in early spring with an upcoming release of iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14, and has already garnered support from privacy advocates around the world.”
And here are the basics of what you need to know:
The App Tracking Transparency feature moves from the old method where you had to opt-out of sharing your Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) to an opt-in model. This means that every app will have to ask you up front whether it is ok for them to share your IDFA with third parties including networks or data brokers.
The feature’s most prominent evidence is a notification on launch of a new app that will explain what the tracker will be used for and ask you to opt-in to it.
You can now toggle IDFA sharing on a by-app basis at any time, where previously it was a single toggle. If you turn off the “Allow apps to request to track” setting altogether no apps can even ask you to use tracking.
Apple will enforce this for all third-party data sources including data sharing agreements, but of course platforms can still use first party data for advertising as per their terms of service.
Apple expects developers to understand whether APIs or SDKs that they use in their apps are serving user data up to brokers or other networks and to enable the notification if so.
Apple will abide by the rules for its own apps as well and will present the dialog and follow the ‘allow apps to request’ toggle if its apps use tracking (most do not at this point).
One important note here is that the Personalized Ads toggle is a separate setting that specifically allows or does not allow Apple itself to use its own first party data to serve you ads. So that is an additional layer of opt-out that affects Apple data only.
Apple is also increasing the capabilities of its Ad attribution API, allowing for better click measurement, measurement of video conversions and also — and this is a big one for some cases, app-to-web conversions.
This news comes on Data Privacy Day, with CEO Tim Cook speaking on the issue this morning at the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference in Brussels. The company is also sharing a new report showing that the average app has six third-party trackers.
As it mobilizes its supply chain, employees, and partners to provide personal protective equipment to medical workers and others working to stop the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, Apple has sourced over 20 million face masks and is now building and shipping face shields, according to a statement from chief executive Tim Cook.
Apple is dedicated to supporting the worldwide response to COVID-19. We’ve now sourced over 20M masks through our supply chain. Our design, engineering, operations and packaging teams are also working with suppliers to design, produce and ship face shields for medical workers. pic.twitter.com/3xRqNgMThX
The company is working with governments around the world to distribute its supply of face masks to where it’s needed most.
Meanwhile, the first delivery of the company’s Apple face shields went out to Kaiser hospital facilities in the Santa Clara valley earlier this week, according to Cook.
As Cook noted, the masks pack flat and ship 100 to a box. They can be assembled in less than two minutes and are fully adjustable. Cook said that the company would ship 1 million by the end of the week and will expect to ship an additional 1 million face shields weekly, with a goal to expand distribution beyond the U.S.
“For Apple this is a labor of love and gratitude and we will share more of our efforts over time,” Cook said.
In Canada, INKSmith, a startup that was making design and tech tools accessible for kids, has now moved to making face shields and is hiring up to 100 new employees to meet demand.
“I think in the short term, we’re going to scale up to meet the needs of the province soon. After that, we’re going to meet the demands of Canada,” INKSmith CEO Jeremy Hedges told the Canadian news outlet Global News.
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