One out of five iPhone users in the U.S. have Limit Ad Tracking turned on

By , Oct 17, 2016


Survey conducted by mobile app marketing platform Adjust says one-fifth of total iPhone users in the U.S. have opted to prevent in-app ads from being targeted at them directly. About eighteen million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users in the country have used the Limit Ad Tracking feature to explicitly opt out of targeted advertising, according to the report.

Globally, Limit Ad Tracking has been adopted by eighteen percent of total iOS users.

The adoption rate of the feature in Canada is 14.4 percent, and 16.5 and 19.3 precent in the United Kingdom and Germany, respectively. Interestingly, the Netherlands beats out the United States with the Limit Ad Tracking adoption rate of 22 percent.

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“This is trending in a direction where it’s not just the tech-savvy, ad-allergic crowd any more,” said Paul Muller, cofounder and CTO at Adjust. ”Marketers will face a large, distributed and worst of all ‘unknown’ segment of users, especially in places like Germany and the U.S.”

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From the report:

If people were more interested in reducing the number of retargeted ads, and if they were aware of the effects of the Limit Ad Tracking settings, we would expect a steadily rising trend throughout the last month as adoption of iOS 10 rises and people become aware of the changes.

So far, on a global level, there’s no evidence of an upward trend—the global rates are stagnant, at around 18 percent.

You can manually enable Limit Ad Tracking on your iOS device in Settings → Privacy → Advertising. Limit Ad Tracking is also available for iTunes and on the Apple TV.

The feature has been available since iOS 6 in 2012.

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iOS 10’s improved Limit Ad Tracking completely avoids a unique ID number (called the Identifier for Advertising, or IDFA) rather than just resetting it, like before.

The change makes tracking behavior of iOS 10 users significantly more complicated. The Adjust survey estimates that two million additional U.S. users activated the setting when iOS 10 launched in September.

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The privacy-sensitive IDFA is a combination of numbers and letters that is unique to each iOS device. Ad networks and other providers use IDFAs to serve targeted advertising and re-engage users on specific devices.

iOS 10 users that enable Limit AD Tracking “become ghosts”, AdAge reports.

Source: Adjust via Advertising Age

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  • pnh

    Didn’t but I do now. I’ll bet the other four out of five didn’t know you could do this.

    • Zzyzxd

      I did know this from day one but still I leave it unchecked. Since I can’t block ads, making them more relevant to me is the least I can do. It is all a matter of trust because you don’t really know what actually happened under the hood when you enable the LAT.

      If you trust that LAT can protect your privacy, you should also trust Apple when they say they never share personal info even when LAT is disabled.

      • True, I think a lot of people don’t realize this only affects ads in the Apple Store and Apple News App and the information it shares is more about the apps you run and download. Since I don’t use Apple News and rarely go into the Apple store I’m not really affected by this either. Even then that information is looked at by Apple and not by 3rd party app developers.

        The only setting I tend to disable is the location tracking for ads. Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Location-Based Apple Ads. Again I know it doesn’t really affect privacy but I tend to not like them. The only apps recommended to me by this are News and weather apps. LOL I apparently live in a boring neighborhood.

    • It’s not that big of a deal. Essentially it should be renamed to, “Do you want to see random app ads in the news app and App Store or ads based on your purchase history?”.

      Personally unless that feature gains the ability to limit data collection by Google and Facebook in Safari (which I think most people assume that’s what it does) I’m not that interested. But I use ad blocking for that anyways so I just leave it enabled.

  • Lordrootman

    For me is always on
    I JAILBREAK my phone for that reason
    Also block iAd and facebook tracking

  • Dallas Groot
  • e brake