iOS 14.5 was released in the last week of April 2021 with routine bug fixes and some notable new features. One such feature was App Tracking Transparency, which sent various entities — especially Facebook — into a frenzy.
This leads us to the question: What is app tracking transparency? And how can we turn it on or off on our iPhones?
What is Transparency Tracking Applications?
Before iOS 14.5, apps on your phone could automatically track your activities. Even when you’re not using them, some apps can track where you’ve been or monitor what you’ve been browsing to create targeted ads.
App Tracking Transparency is a feature that gives you the option to prevent this from happening. If you turn this feature off for a specific app, then that app will not be able to track any activity you do on your phone.
Apple has taken this step to ensure that its users have complete control over their privacy and safety.
How can you turn it off?
Since this feature is only available with iOS 14.5, be sure to update your device before you begin.
Here’s what happens after the update is complete: Every time you open an app, you’ll see a pop-up asking you “Would you like to allow a specific app to track your activity in other companies’ apps and websites.”
You can either choose to ‘allow’ or ‘require the app not to be tracked’. Choosing the latter option will block the app’s tracking activity. The same thing will happen every time you download and open a new app.
The app developer can customize a part of the message to explain why the app is asking to track your activity. You can also visit the app’s product page in the App Store for more details about how the app developer uses your data.
If you choose Require App Do Not Track, the app developer will not be able to access the System Advertisement Identifier (IDFA), which is usually used for tracking. The app also does not allow your activity to be tracked using other information that can identify you or your device, such as your email address.
If you want to apply the same settings to all your apps at once, you can do it in Settings by following these steps:
- Go to “Settings” and tap
"عام" -> "الخصوصية".
- Click on “Track”.
- You will then see an option to “Allow apps to request tracking.” Turning off the toggle will ensure that your apps don’t show you tracking requests when you open them. Apps are automatically blocked from tracking your activity.
If you have questions and want to know more about this feature, you can click know more Below is the “Allow apps to request tracking” option.
How do you turn on app tracking transparency?
When the pop-up asking to “Track your activity in third-party apps and websites” appears, choose “Allow.”
If you previously blocked an app from tracking you but now you changed your mind, you can turn on the tracking feature in Settings -> Privacy -> Tracking.
A list of apps that have requested tracking permission appears on this page. By turning on the toggle, you can specify which apps can manually track your activity and which ones can’t.
If you don’t see an app, make sure to turn on the toggle to request access and reinstall the app until the popup appears again.
What to do if apps tracking transparency is inactive?
Apple has released a support document to help you fix this issue, and it includes three conditions under which app tracking transparency may appear grayed out.
In some cases, the Allow apps to request tracking setting is disabled, including:
- For users with accounts children or younger than 18 by year of birth who are signed in with their Apple ID*
- If your Apple ID is managed by a school or uses a configuration profile that limits tracking
- If your Apple ID was created in the last 3 days
However, several people reported that App Tracking Transparency was grayed out, despite not falling into any of the above categories. Most complaints were resolved after updating to iOS 14.5.1, so be sure to update if you haven’t already.
Another method that has worked for some users is to sign in to your Apple ID again. Sign out of your Apple ID in the App Store, restart your iPhone, open your Apple ID, and enter your username and password again to sign in to your Apple ID.
You can also head over to your Settings and click on your name at the top to do so.
If that doesn’t work for you, there have also been rumors of a relationship between custom ad settings and app tracking transparency. To test this fix, here’s what you need to do:
- Go to “Settings” and then “Privacy”.
- Scroll down and tap on Apple Ads.
- Turn on the toggle for personalized ads.
Disabling personalized ads will prevent any targeted ads from appearing in your path, which may disable apps tracking transparency by default.
Pros and Cons of Transparency Tracking App
Most users may feel uncomfortable knowing that the apps on your Apple device can track your whereabouts, activities, and contacts through your iPhone.
Moreover, we have all experienced an ultimatum moment when browsing a particular item in one app resulted in a constant stream of ads for similar products on other apps.
If you are one of the many people who are bothered by this, make sure to block these apps from tracking you by following the above steps.
However, there are some circumstances in which someone might find it useful to allow apps to track them. Most of the time, this is mostly due to the appearance of targeted ads.
Finding something useful and appropriate for your needs is a lot easier when apps can record what you’re browsing and create similar ads. If you rely heavily on this, you may want to allow some apps to track you.
Entities that generate a significant portion of their revenue based on collecting IDFA (an identifier for advertisers) to generate personalized ads will be at a disadvantage if a large number of users choose to block tracking activity.
App Tracking Transparency: A Big Step Toward Basic Privacy
The release of this feature brought great relief to many Apple users but caused a backlash from many companies that rely on IDFA.
Turning them on or off is a simple process and can be done at any time. Apple has also ensured that no app can secretly track you even after you’ve been asked not to, so you don’t have to worry.
Although the release of this feature was a big change, it wasn’t the only one that was rolled out in iOS 14.5.