iOS 14.5 lets you block ad tracking in iPhone apps — Facebook is not happy

Apple App Tracking Transparency
(Image credit: Apple)

With Apple's iOS 14.5 update now available to download, iPhone and iPad users have the ability to block ad tracking across other companies’ apps and websites thanks to Apple's new App Tracking Transparency.

The new privacy feature lets users opt out of having their data collected by various apps, and Facebook isn't too pleased about it. Why? The social media giant uses this data for advertising and it's a big source of revenue.

Many companies are making privacy a priority by introducing new ways to stop ad tracking tech from taking a user's information, such as Google's new FLoC advertising tool, and with every move made, things aren't looking good for Facebook. 

What's more, Apple won't be phased by its new privacy tool, as it makes a profit off new product and in-app purchases instead. 

How App Tracking Transparency works

As explained by Apple, the tech giant's newly introduced App Tracking Transparency will be available on its iPhone, iPad, and other devices with iOS 14.5.

When downloading apps, users will now have the choice to allow the app to track their activity across other companies' apps and websites. This means the identifier for advertisers (IDFA) won't be able to track you and present targeted ads based on your preferences.

Those who "Ask App Not To Track" won't see personalized ads anymore, and means companies won't be able to build a profile about them or take information such as their email address or location — something ExpressVPN discovered malicious apps were taking advantage of.

However, as Facebook points out in a blog post, blocking ad tracking still means you will see ads, except they will be "less relevant to you." Still, Apple's main focus of its new privacy feature is having the "choice on how apps use and share your data."

Why Facebook isn't happy

According to a BBC report, up to 80% of iOS users will say no when being asked permission for apps to track them. That will certainly put a dent in Facebook's ad business. 

(Image credit: Facebook)

Facebook has stated they do not agree with Apple’s approach, as personalized advertising supports small businesses and keeps the app free. Facebook has been under fire for its privacy policies before, collecting data without users even knowing. However, it's making strides by offering features such as this tool to let users know which companies track you on other sites.

"We disagree with Apple’s approach, yet we have no choice but to show their prompt. If we don’t, we’ll face retaliation from Apple, which could only further harm the businesses we want to support. We can’t take that risk."

Facebook also states that its own studies show small businesses that use its system could see a cut of over 60% of website sales from ads. The company also claims Apple's App Tracking Transparency is "about profit, not privacy." Shots fired.

Clearly, Facebook isn't a fan. The social media giant will still need to comply with Apple's changes in the meantime, but has stated they will be looking to offer new advertiser experiences. Perhaps Google's FLoC advertising tool will come in handy.

Overall, it's now up to you if you want apps to track you and offer personalized ads. You can download iOS 14.5 right now. 

Darragh Murphy

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.