How to limit ad tracking in iOS 6

By , Oct 11, 2012

There’s been a lot of talk recently regarding advertisers tracking iOS users, more or less, without their knowledge. Earlier this week we showed you how to opt out of Verizon’s (and AT&T’s) info-sharing program.

But even if you’ve withdrawn your device from carrier data tracking systems, there’s a good chance that advertisers are still watching you through Apple’s iAd network. So if that concerns you, here’s what to do…

There’s two things you can do on your iOS device to limit the amount of your information that gets shared with advertisers (this is in addition to the aforementioned carrier opt-out). And they’re both super simple.

The first one is merely a setting you can toggle on in iOS 6. We touched on this feature a bit back in early September, but with all of the recent talk of ad tracking, we figured it was worth mentioning again.

  • First, open up the Settings app on your iOS 6 device
  • Then follow this tap path: General > About > Advertising
  • Finally, toggle the Limit Ad Tracking feature to ‘On’

Doing this will ensure that apps don’t use your device’s Advertising Identifier (the new UDID) to serve you targeted ads. It’s kind of sketchy, though, that Apple buried this feature down in the General Settings tab.

The other thing you can do to limit targeted ads on your device (i.e.: ad tracking) is opt out of internet-based ads from Apple’s iAd network. I wasn’t aware of this before, so hat tip to DaringFireball for the find.

“iAd, Apple’s mobile advertising platform, strives to provide relevant ads to you based on your interests. To enable us to continue providing you with the best advertising experience, we recommend you keep interest-based iAds enabled.”

If you don’t want to receive ads related to your interests, you can opt out by accessing this link on your iOS device using iOS 4 or later. You just have to make sure that you’re logged into your iTunes account.

And that’s all there is to it! The main thing to remember here is that this won’t turn off advertisements in apps or through Safari — you’ll still see them. This will just make them less personal (and creepy?).

For what it’s worth, I haven’t done either of these things on my iPhone 5 yet. I figure if I’m going to see ads anyway, why not make them pertinent? It is weird though, to think they could be watching. me. right. now.

Any questions? Thoughts on ad tracking?

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  • Anthony Antunez

    If Im already going to get ads either way, i’d rather they be personalized to my tastes instead of annoying ads that have nothing to do with me. I might even click on one of them if they interest me enough.

  • JerseyD

    Rather not be tracked. And I never felt like personal ads are that accurate. If you search for creatine then you get all these ads for work out crap. If you go on video game sites you start seeing ads for video game school. I’ve never seen an ad I had the impulse to click. Could care less what its for.

  • Burge

    Yes it’s the same .. Just done it

  • Sebastien

    Actually, it’s 2 different things

  • Tgeno

    Settings-privacy-location services-system services-location based iAds

  • kumar714

    don’t try this people, it sucks up the battery really fast.

  • Christian Zibreg

    If I’m going to see ads, they better be personalized and relevant. Hence, let them track the hell out of me, I don’t care the tiniest bit.