How to limit ad tracking on your Apple devices

By , Apr 1, 2016

Apple advertising teaser 001

Every Apple ID account has an Advertising Identifier assigned to it, including yours. When you sign in with an Apple ID on an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or Apple TV, Apple reads your advertising identifier so that its advertising system can track you across apps.

Relevant data collected from your devices, along with your Advertising Identifier, helps Apple target you with more personalized interest-based ads.

These interest-based ads appear in third-party apps that you download in the App Store, as well as in first-party Apple apps such as News and Wallet. Thankfully, Apple also lets you opt-out of targeted advertising by limiting ad tracking. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to opt-out of ad tracking across each and every Apple device you own.

Stuff Apple collects for advertising purposes

Apple collects certain data on your devices in order to figure out what kind of ads you’ll be shown based on your interests. None of this stuff can be used to trace your whereabouts or personally identify you. The system places you into groups of at least 5,000 like-minded people and these groups are then used for ad targeting.

Apple advertising News 001

Collected data may be used to derive your gender and ethnicity, subject to local law. Your sexual orientation, religious beliefs, political affiliations, Health data or Apple Pay transactions are not known to Apple’s advertising system.

“iAd does not sell or otherwise transmit any personally identifiable information to third parties,” says Apple.

What does limiting ad tracking do?

Note that disabling ad tracking won’t automagically switch off all advertising on your Apple devices. You are likely going to continue receiving the same number of ads, but the ads may be less relevant to you when the Limit Ad Tracking option is enabled.

Enabling the Limit Ad Tracking option does the following things:

  • Your Apple ID is opted-out of receiving ads targeted to your interests, regardless of what device you are using
  • Apps or advertisers which use a third-party ad network are no longer permitted to serve you targeted ads, as per Apple’s guidelines

On all Apple devices, ad tracking is on by default.

How to limit ad tracking on iPhone and iPad

1) Go to Settings → Privacy → Advertising.


2) Slide the Limit Ad Tracking switch to the ON position.

To learn how Apple tracks you across devices for advertising purposes, tap the About Advertising & Privacy link on this screen, check out a support article on Apple’s website or view the company’s official Privacy Policy.

Disabling location-based ads

To manually disable location-based ads and offers on your iOS device, which will help improve your battery life, go to Settings → Privacy → Location Services → System Services and flip the Location-Based iAds switch to the OFF position.

iOS 9 disable Location-based iAds iPhone screenshot 001

RELATED: How to opt-out of location-based ads on iPhone and iPad

How to limit ad tracking on Apple TV

1) Go to Settings → General → Privacy.

2) Set Limit Ad Tracking to ON.

What about ad tracking in iTunes?

Up until iTunes 12.3.3, there was an option to limit ad tracking under iTunes Preferences → Store but it’s a goner now, most likely because Apple is shutting down its advertising network, called iAd, at the end of June 2016.

For those wondering, ad tracking in iTunes used to be limited to iTunes Radio, which would gather data from your iTunes library and other sources in order to play ads based on your personal preferences.

Resetting your Advertising Identifier

You can clear anonymized ad data at any time by resetting your Advertising Identifier on one of your devices. On iOS, tap Settings → Privacy → Advertising → Reset Advertising Identifier. Then tap the Reset Identifier button to confirm the action. On your Apple TV, select that same option under Settings → General → Privacy.

You may not need to use this option, however, because your Advertising Identifier is automatically reset when you enable or disable the Limit Ad Tracking option.

RELATED: Handy tips to increase your privacy on iOS

Do you use ad tracking on your Apple devices?

Personally, I couldn’t care less about being tracked because if I am to be served ads in apps, they better be ads that interest me and are tailored to my personal tastes.

Need help? Ask iDB!

Were these tips helpful to you? Feel free to share your own tips in the comments. Not sure how to do certain things on your Apple device? Let us know at and a future tutorial might provide a solution.

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  • Benedict

    So there is no difference – like claimed – between Google’s and Apple’s ad business by selling ad information to third party companies. Another example of misleading of customers by Apple.

    • You should rad the section in this post called “Stuff Apple collects for advertising purposes” again because it does a great job at explaining what Apple gets from you. For comparison, Google collects MUCH more personal information that can actually be tied to you personally. Apple wouldnt be able to know specifics about You. Google would.

      • Benedict

        Your claim is assumption, not knowledge. You assume because of “what you heard” somewhere that Google shares all your personal data which is just incorrect: We do not share personal information with companies, organizations and individuals outside of Google can be read in Google’s Privacy Policy.
        Moreover a Google ID is used for advertising which can be deleted or renewed by the user. Also you can edit and choose which data should be collected. You are not even forced to make a Google account to use e.g. an Android device.
        In conclusion Apple collects the same personal data and uses your app activities, location and callers for their purpose. The only difference to Google is that you can’t turn it off.

  • websyndicate

    I messes with your cookies when you go to websites. I found it more annoying than anything as then it wouldn’t remember if I had ben back to the website or not.