Apple Delays iOS 14 Privacy Features

Apple’s quest for more user privacy is pushed back to early 2021 to give developers time to adapt.

What Happened:

Apple's next-generation iOS operating system, expected to be released this month, will not include the ad tracking feature in response to uproar from the tech community. 

A new implementation date is set for early 2021. The new privacy feature is intended to allow users to decline app ad tracking, share their approximate location instead of the precise location, and be notified whenever an app uses their microphone or camera. 

Over the years, Apple has launched a variety of initiatives to increase privacy, such as the Limit Ad Tracking feature and last year's restriction on ads and third-party trackers in iPhone apps for kids

Why it Matters: 

Apple’s Influence and Scale

In early 2020, Apple reached 1.5 billion active iOS devices worldwide, and over 100 million Apple users in the United States. Although developers have been given an extension, not adapting to Apple’s proposed privacy changes by 2021 risks reaching billions of customers. 

Permission to be Monitored

The new privacy feature will give users a more active role in determining how they share their data. Once in place, apps will not be able to exchange information by default and will have to request users' permission to track them across websites and apps. If users decide to reject tracking, less data is collected, thus preserving the user's privacy.

Increased Transparency

The new privacy feature requires app developers to self-report the various permissions their apps require and how it could be tracked outside of the app.

Opposition from Facebook

Facebook stated that the new privacy feature would severely impact its operations, specifically on Facebook's Audience Network, an advertising network for mobile apps that uses data to target ads on other publishers' websites and apps. 

According to a recent Facebook-led study, non-personalized ads featured during mobile app installation earned 50% less revenue than personalized ads for third-party publishers.