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Apple Has Quietly Started Tracking iPhone Users Again, And It's Tricky To OptOut

SternisheFan (2529412) writes | about 2 years ago

Apple 4

SternisheFan writes "Apple's launch of the iPhone 5 in September came with a bunch of new commercials to promote the device. But Apple didn't shout quite so loud about an enhancement to its new mobile operating system, iOS 6, which also occurred in September: The company has started tracking users so that advertisers can target them again, through a new tracking technology called IFA or IDFA.
    Previously, Apple had all but disabled tracking of iPhone users by advertisers when it stopped app developers from utilizing Apple mobile device data via UDID, the unique, permanent, non-deletable serial number that previously identified every Apple device. For the last few months, iPhone users have enjoyed an unusual environment in which advertisers have been largely unable to track and target them in any meaningful way. In iOS 6, however, tracking is most definitely back on, and it's more effective than ever, multiple mobile advertising executives familiar with IFA tell us. (Note that Apple doesn't mention IFA in its iOS 6 launch page).
    When you look at an app, or browse the web, your presence generates a call for an ad. The publisher's site that you're looking at then passes the IFA to the ad server. The advertiser is then able to know that a specific iPhone user is looking at a specific publication and can serve an ad targeting that user. IFA becomes particularly useful, for instance, if an ad server notices that a particular IFA is looking at a lot of different car sites. Perhaps that user is interested in buying a new car. They'll likely start seeing a lot of car ads on their iPhone. More importantly, IFA will allow advertisers to track the user all the way to "conversion" —which for most advertisers consists of an app download. Previously, advertisers had no idea whether their ads actually drove people to download apps or buy things. Now IFA will tell them. The IFA does not identify you personally —it merely provides a bunch of aggregate audience data that advertisers can target with ads. Tracking is on by default"

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And it's easy to opt out (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628507)

Trivially easy to get out of. Go to this link on your iOS device using iOS 4 or later. You need to be logged into your iTunes account in order for your opt out to be effective.

http://oo.apple.com/ [apple.com]

Even the Business Insider article you link to show's you how to do it manually.

Troll harder

Re:And it's easy to opt out (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#41629373)

Yeah but, honestly, how many iPhone users would even know that this tracking has been instituted by apple? They 'trust' that Apple has their best interests at heart and is protectecting them inside their 'walled garden'. In this case, the enemy is coming from within that supposed 'safe' garden.

I'm not a troll, I just don't like bullies, it's how life has shaped me. Apple has shown how they abuse their position of superiority and power many times in many ways already. Fortunately, for the average consumer, there are other options in phone makers. But who'll protect the innocent Apple sheep from Apple itself?

Re:And it's easy to opt out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629465)

Not a troll? Drop the sheep part and someone might believe you. It's a fairly crap article. All this does is drop you out of apples ads, not ads from other networks.

Do yourself a favor, ditch Business Insider, it's a site that trolls it's readers. Don't let you be one of them

Re:And it's easy to opt out (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#41631643)

I admit to not being totally internet savvy, it's more a past-time/hobby for me. I'm just killing some idle time until I can find full time employment again, and whatever goes on in tech is usually beyond my ken. So, I defer to you, good sir. Think I'll go back to just reading comments on /., and leave the rest to those more learned on the subject than myself. Thank you, really. I learned from you today. Take care... :-)
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