iOS 14.5 finally landed yesterday after what seemed like a never-ending series of betas, bringing with it the option of blocking app tracking. Well, for most people, anyway.

We explained earlier what the two options mean

Apple is requiring that any developer that shares user data with a third-party must get explicit permission to do so. You might not see these alerts immediately as companies like Facebook are gradually rolling these permissions request out to their users over the course of a few weeks. 

An example alert will say, “Allow [app name] to track your activity across other companies’ apps and websites?” The two buttons to choose from on this alert are “Ask App Not to Track” and “Allow.”

If you press Allow, the app will be allowed to collect personalized demographics and usage data about you and share it with other companies. This usually means sharing/selling the data on to ad networks.

If you press “Ask App Not To Track,” the app will not be allowed to share any information about you with a third party.

We also provided a hands-on guide to using the feature.

The most common use of tracking data is to serve personalized ads. Your choice won’t impact the number of ads you see, only whether they are generic or tailored to your interests.

I’d expected Apple to adopt a relatively neutral approach, explaining the upsides and downsides of ad tracking, but the video the company posted yesterday was rather obviously encouraging people to view it as a fundamental privacy issue, and opt out. It did stress that iPhone owners have a choice, but the tone left little doubt which course of action the company was implicitly recommending.

What have you done, or will you do when you get the choice? Will you allow app tracking so that the ads you see are more likely to be relevant ones? Will you reward your favourite apps by allowing them to generate greater ad revenue from personalized ads? Or will you be blocking app tracking for every single app?

Please take our poll, and share your thoughts in the comments.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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