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Apple Phasing Out Developer Access to UDIDs in iOS 5

TechCrunch reports that Apple is making an interesting change in iOS 5, phasing out the ability for developers to access a device's Unique Device Identifier (UDID). Apple is instead asking developers to create unique identifiers specific to their apps in order to tie installations to specific users.
This is a big deal, especially for any mobile ad networks, game networks or any app which relies on the UDID to identify users. Many apps and mobile ad networks, for instance, uses the UDID or a hashed version to keep track of who their users are and what actions they have taken. App publishers are now supposed to crete their own unique identifiers to keep track of users going forward, which means they may have to throw all of their historical user data out the window and start from scratch.
Apple and a number of app developers have been sued over their handling of UDIDs. While UDIDs can't directly be linked with a specific users, information tied to a device can be passed along to advertisers to help them in targeting their advertisements, with some privacy advocates objecting to the practice.

With the UDID, ad networks can track what apps are being used on a given device, enabling them to piece together a valuable picture of activity conducted on a specific device. Apple's move seems to specifically address that concern, breaking down identifiers to the app level to limit the ability to put together such a complete picture.

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39 months ago
Another new iOS5 Update: When you install an app from the app store, the app doesn't close, but the app still downloads in the background.
Rating: 16 Votes
39 months ago
Folks, Apple aren't removing access to UUIDs, they're just deprecating them. All that "deprecation" means is that is that UUIDs are not recommended for use in new applications.

UUIDs are typically used as database keys in apps that connect to servers. So why are they being deprecated?

Because UUID's uniquely identify a device, not a user. This is problematic in several scenarios:
[LIST]
[*]users with multiple devices. If a user has both, say, an iPhone and an iPad, and an app that runs on both of them, they want the same data to be available on both devices. Using UUID as an identifier means this doesn't work. If an app was storing some server-side data for me, this would get lost.


[*]devices with multiple users. iOS doesn't currently support multiple users, but maybe it will in the future. Using a user-based identifier will be needed to make this work.


[*]upgrades. When I upgrade my 3GS to a shiny new iPhone 5 in October, the UUID will change. If any app was storing data server-side based on only my UUID, that data would become inaccessible.
[/LIST]

With iCloud, Apple now have a fairly reliable way to identify users rather than just devices. Since developers can make use of iCloud too, this is presumably the recommended way going forward. Hence the UUID deprecation.
Rating: 10 Votes
39 months ago

Apple and a number of app developers have been sued over their handling of UDIDs. While UDIDs can't directly be linked with a specific users, information tied to a device can be passed along to advertisers to help them in targeting their advertisements, with some privacy advocates objecting to the practice.


This passes the blame to the developers and not Apple now. :D

Apple's just protecting themselves on this one.;)
Rating: 7 Votes
39 months ago
Good. Developers just need to identify a user of that app. There's no reason for them to need access to the UDID or any other universally unique identifier. I really don't care what the advertisers need or want; they want to covertly make money off me without providing me a service or a product, and by watching me "over my shoulder" (so to speak). I don't care for that at all. Find another way that isn't so objectionable.
Rating: 7 Votes
39 months ago

hmmm wonder what prompted this change


Yeah it's entirely unexpected. :rolleyes::D
Rating: 6 Votes
39 months ago
I guarantee that they are doing this for two reasons:

1) To finally put an end to incentivized installs through networks like TapJoy and Flurry (they currently are able to track installs by users' UDIDs)

2) To begin the change to associate all of the app's content to the user's Apple ID through iCloud

It will be a bit of a pain as a developer, but it makes sense.

EDIT: As some people have noted, I do NOT think that the large number of people getting pre-access to iOS 5 has to do with this. They can solve that by a much simpler solution.
Rating: 5 Votes
39 months ago
Just to clarify for everyone. UDIDs are still used and available but are not to be used by developers as a means to identify users.

I believe the Pandora app is one app that uses UDID to keep track. Let's say I was logged into pandora on my iPhone and then compeltely wiped the device. I could download and install Pandora and not have to login. Pandora would recognize the UDID and authenticate.

Other applications utilize UDID as a sole means for authentication, in other words your account and info with that app is tied to your device(s) UDIDs.
Rating: 5 Votes
39 months ago
hmmm wonder what prompted this change
Rating: 5 Votes
39 months ago
The UDID is a terrible way to identify a user. There a many reasons for that including the device is:
[LIST]
[*]stolen,
[*]replaced,
[*]sold or
[*]given to someone else
[/LIST]

Cheers,

Stu
Rating: 5 Votes
39 months ago

sounds like Apple is doing this to lock down their own ads, Force game center on more people oh and make cross platform development harder.

This is more about lining their own pockets. Apple has zero interested in protecting the users. It makes it so only Apple has that data and no one else.


First of all, Apple doesn't need to use a device UDID to access your data, they have a much more universal ID, your iTunes account, which is cross-device and cross-platform.

Second, how does removing access to the UDID make cross-platform development harder? If anything, it forces a developer to create their own IDs, that they can then use across different devices and platforms.
Rating: 4 Votes

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