Apple readying tracking tools for app developers that won’t require UDIDs

In addition to allegedly working on a brand new app to enable on-the-go payments on iOS devices, called Organize, Apple is said to appease to developers by rolling out new tracking tools that will strengthen developers’ privacy by not requiring UDIDs to gather usage data on their apps…

Jessica E. Vascellaro, reporting for the Wall Street Journal, explains:

The new tool, which could be detailed in the coming weeks, aims to better protect user privacy than existing approaches, these people said.

Vascellaro stopped short of specifying whether the new tools are meant to replace UDIDs.

How Apple’s new technology works and what it will allow developers to track remains unclear. One of the people briefed said that the new anonymous identifier is likely to rely on a sequence of numbers that isn’t tied to a specific device.

UDID, an acronym for the Unique Device Identifier, is an alphanumerical string unique to each iOS device. You can easily access your device’s UDID using using iTunes on your Mac or PC, as shown above.

Many apps use UDIDs to anonymously identify unique users across apps and browsing sessions and associate them with location, user settings, ads and what not.

The use of UDID also sparked controversy over fear that individuals could potentially be identified should enough anonymous data be amassed.

It is perhaps because of this far-reaching privacy implication that Apple recently began rejecting app submissions which tap a device’s UDID, confirming whispers from last August.

But apart from an app rejection here and there over UDIDs, Apple hasn’t yet enforced the new policy upon its developers.

With a WWDC keynote just around the corner, we’re expecting some progress on this front from Apple’s marketing honcho Phil Schiller, who is also the steward of Cupertino’s relationship with app developers.