It was big news for mobile marketers earlier this summer when Apple announced that the next version of iOS, shortly to be released in September, will require apps to obtain user consent to track them or to access their Apple device’s advertising identifier (i.e. the IDFA).

Those permission requests to track and access the IDFA will be made through Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency framework. Apple has provided some examples of tracking, as well as outlining the purposes for which consent isn’t required.

The announcement reverses the current position where use of the IDFA is permitted unless a user opts out - the setting being buried deep in the iOS menu. With a new prominent pop-up appearing when apps are opened for the first time, the change is illustrative of a ‘data protection by design and default’ approach being championed by Apple. 

Some describe this pivot by Apple as a win for consumer privacy. Others call it the death of the IDFA, with speculation that opt-in rates will fall to 10-20% - an ad-pocalypse in the mobile adtech ecosystem, if you will.  

That’s because the change signals to marketers where the industry is heading given that Apple and Google pretty much march in lockstep when it comes to privacy: commentators think it likely that Google will follow suit and create a similar opt-in tracking mechanism for Android.