Apple Delays Ad Tracking Change To System Update Over Developer Concerns

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Apple is delaying a planned change to its system update because Facebook and other companies have warned it would be detrimental to their ad systems, Bloomberg reported.

The update in question was announced in June and would make users give explicit permission before the apps can track them for ad purposes. It was supposed to be included with iOS 14, set for release this fall, but will now be delayed until early next year, Bloomberg reported, because Apple wants “to give developers the time they need to make the necessary changes.”

The tech in question is a code unique to Apple called the Identification for Advertisers, or IDFA. It’s in every Apple device, and app developers have long used it in order to target users with ads and to track the performance of the ads across various devices.

A notice from Facebook to developers said the new update could essentially render the “Audience Network” ineffective enough to make its inclusion pointless.

Apple has pivoted more toward privacy in recent years, with CEO Tim Cook calling privacy a “human right,” but its recent changes have put it at odds with developers it relies on to make billions of dollars a year in ad revenue, Bloomberg reported. Thursday’s reversal is a rare one in that context.

The company said the device-tracking update will be implemented when iOS 14 is released, but companies won’t be forced to adopt it. According to Bloomberg, there will be more details released later this year.

Apple is currently in the midst of numerous controversies involving antitrust issues, including one about the 30 percent fee it charges on several app-related payments. Developers have complained that the policy is distributed unevenly. Facebook recently clashed with the tech giant over this incident, when Apple reportedly asked Facebook to remove a message telling users of Apple’s policy to implement the aforementioned fees.

Apple responded by saying users didn’t need to know the information, and that the App Store prohibits apps revealing “irrelevant” information.

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