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.
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.
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 Apple Ads switch to the OFF position.
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 shut down its advertising network, called iAd in 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.
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!
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