A quick update on Apple’s new opt-in feature for tracking users or accessing their devices' advertising identifier (a.k.a. the IDFA) since our previous post: faced with mounting industry pressure, in recent days Apple announced a softening of its approach. Rather than enforcing the new opt-in feature with the release of iOS 14, Apple has now put it off till early next year. Ostensibly this is to give developers time to make necessary changes.

Industry pressure didn’t just come from developers though – publishers were equally concerned. Facebook, whose Audience Network is said to have paid over $1.5b to publishers and developers in 2018, is to stop using IDFAs on its own apps on iOS devices but warned that “Apple’s updates may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14 in the future.” Indeed, in testing, the social media giant apparently saw more than a 50% drop in publisher revenue in its ad network.

Whilst this controversial change is now set to take effect next year, it’s perhaps worth noting that later this year Apple is going to be rolling out another privacy-related feature: App Store product pages will feature a new privacy information section to help users understand an app’s privacy practices (which includes the practices of third-party partners whose code – e.g. advertising or analytics SDKs – is integrated into that app) when it comes to the types of data collected and used, and whether those data are linked to users or used to track them. It’s a separate requirement to having a Privacy Policy, and bolsters developers’ transparency obligations.