Privacy is on everyone’s mind these days, and in iOS 14.5, which is starting to roll out to the public today, there are new privacy features that may make you feel happier but are not endearing Apple to some other companies — specifically Facebook.
The new feature is aptly called App Tracking Transparency. Many apps don’t just track your movements inside the app, but they track your movements outside of the app — in other words, where you go after you’ve left the app. This is why you see ads in Facebook and other apps for products you were just looking at on Amazon or other sites.
Before 14.5, you could turn tracking off for all of your apps by going to Settings > Privacy > Tracking and turning off “Allow Apps to Request to Track.” The new version of iOS allows you to be more specific. To begin, when you install a new app, you won’t have to do anything; you’ll be automatically asked whether you want the new app to track you.
New apps must ask permission to track you in order to personalize their ads.
It’s up to you now whether to allow each app to track you.
If you want to see which apps have asked for permission to track, and possibly change their tracking settings, you can just go to that same Tracking page. There, you will be able to give or revoke that permission. So:
- Go to your iPhone’s settings and select Privacy > Tracking.
- Beneath “Allow Apps to Request to Track,” you’ll now see a list of specific apps that have asked for that permission. You can permit or revoke that permission for each specific app.
Go to Settings > Privacy > Tracking to change the settings for specific or all apps.
And you can still use “Allow Apps to Request to Track” to turn off permission for all of your current (and future) apps.
(Note: At first, the App Tracking Transparency feature seemed to be misbehaving for some people; it either didn’t respond or the toggle in Tracking was grayed out. On May 3rd, Apple issued update 14.5.1, which was supposed to fix the problem. According to 9to5Mac, the fix hasn’t worked for some people; however, at least one staffer at The Verge reported that his toggle was no longer grayed out.)
Update April 27th, 9:20AM ET: This article has been updated to add a note about problems with the new feature.
Update May 10th, 2:50PM ET: The note about issues with the new feature has been updated.