iOS 14’s new App Tracking Transparency feature is arriving in early spring

Apple is delaying the full implementation of iOS 14’s anti-tracking features until early 2021.

The company announced this morning that the forthcoming App Tracking Transparency feature will be enabled with its next iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and tvOS 14 betas. These software updates will release to the public in early spring, Apple noted. The company explains that it is delaying the anti-tracking feature to give developers time to make the necessary changes.

Craig’s definition of privacy

Here’s what privacy means, according to Apple’s software engineering head Craig Federighi:

Privacy means peace of mind, it means security, and it means you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to your own data. Our goal is to create technology that keeps people’s information safe and protected. We believe privacy is a fundamental human right, and our teams work every day to embed it in everything we make.

User permission required

When Apple flips the switch on the new tracking feature, apps will need to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across apps or websites owned by other companies.

Apple notes in a press release:

Under Settings, users will be able to see which apps have requested permission to track, and make changes as they see fit. This requirement will roll out broadly in early spring with an upcoming release of iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and tvOS 14 and has already garnered support from privacy advocates around the world.

Apple is already requiring developers to provide information within the App Store interface that tells the user how the app is using their data before they download the app.

Happy Data Privacy Day!

This is called App Privacy and it shouldn’t be confused with the App Tracking Transparency feature, which is an expansion of Apple’s previous and rather limited anti-tracking feature.

The change is that apps now must use Apple’s new tracking permission prompt. In other words, tracking is now an opt-in, on an app-by-app basis. Developers who want to track users with their permission must do so using Apple’s new AppTrackingTransparency framework.

By the way, happy Data Privacy Day to everyone!