New 'Music Tracker' App Monitors Your Apple Music Library for Changes and Raises Privacy Concerns

Music Tracker, from developer Ben Dodson, is a new app designed to keep an eye on changes made to the music library on your iOS device. After downloading, the app scans a user's music library and then tracks all changes that are introduced, including new song additions, deletions, and metadata changes to details like the title, artist, album, and genre of owned tracks. Whenever a change is discovered, a notification is sent.

While this is useful for those who like to monitor content and changes made manually to a music library to keep personal logs, it's perhaps best suited to Apple Music subscribers. There are instances where content available through the Apple Music service is deleted or changed due to licensing issues with record labels, and this app will allow users to keep track of potential deletions to replace missing music.

musictracker
As an example, Dodson cites a recent change to a studio recording of Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl," which was silently swapped over to a live version on Apple Music. Music Tracker noted the change and Dodson was able to find a replacement studio recording on another album.

Music Tracker also includes a full Apple Watch app that provides music library details including exactly how many tracks are in a library and how many songs have been added, changed, or deleted each day. There's also a glance view with the same information and a complication for watch faces that support that feature.

musictrackerapplewatchapp
During the process of developing Music Tracker, Dodson ran into some potential privacy holes that he feels iOS users should be aware of. With many third-party iOS apps, accessing user information like location, contacts, or photos requires express user permission, but that's not the case with a music library.

According to Dodson, apps are able to access a user's music library and send data on what's included back to a server, allowing it to be used for advertising or tracking purposes. An app can scan through an entire music library in mere seconds, gaining information on the music content you prefer, down to details like the song that's most often played. Dodson also believes this could be a way for advertisers and marketers to track users across multiple devices.

When iOS first came out there was something called a UDID which basically identified your device uniquely. This was used by marketers to track you across multiple apps and build up a profile. This was stopped by Apple a few years back and replaced with an advertising identifier which you can turn off and which can only be used between apps from the same company (where they are probably already tracking you). However, with a full music library, it would be fairly easy to track someone across multiple apps as periodic snapshots could be compared on a server.

Music Tracker, for its part, does not include any in-app purchases, does not require an Internet connection, and does not collect any library data from customers. Dodson says he doesn't know if there are apps that are already collecting music data from customers in the background, but he has filed a bug report with Apple to ask for a permissions feature to be implemented for the music library.

Music Tracker can be downloaded from the iOS App Store for $0.99. [Direct Link]

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
57 months ago
Or you can own your own music library and it will never miraculously change itself.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
57 months ago
iOS 9.3 adds music to the privacy settings. No problem here.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
57 months ago
Or Apple could just fix Apple Music making this app unnecessary
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
57 months ago
I'd love an app like this for the desktop to keep track of my music. I've got 60K songs and when stuff disappears, it takes awhile to notice.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
57 months ago
i have no idea why I would want such a feature...
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
57 months ago

I have no intentions of using any app that tracks anything!!

Goddamn Pages! Stop saving my freaking documents!

How dare Messages and Mail not immediately delete everything the moment it's received!

Damn Cut the Rope saving my progress!

That's why Snapchat and More Cowbell are the only apps on my iPhone. I used to have Flappy Birds, but it tracked my high scores.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Leaker Shares Details on 'iPhone 13' Camera [Updated]

Wednesday May 27, 2020 4:27 pm PDT by
The next-generation iPhone 12 lineup coming in fall 2020 isn't out yet, but Fudge (@choco_bit), a leaker who sometimes shares information on upcoming Apple devices, today offered up details on what Apple has in store for the 2021 iPhone 13's camera setup. A simple design drawing depicts a device with a four camera array, which Fudge claims will have the following features: 64-megapixel...

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished iPhone XR Models

Thursday May 28, 2020 9:50 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling certified refurbished iPhone XR models in select colors and capacities for the first time in the United States. Refurbished iPhone XR models are priced at a roughly 16 percent discount compared to current pricing on brand-new units, knocking $100–120 off of the regular price. In addition to the 64GB and 128GB capacities matching current brand-new iPhone XR models, ...

Powerbeats Pro Debut in Four New Colors: Spring Yellow, Cloud Pink, Lava Red, and Glacier Blue

Friday May 29, 2020 10:00 am PDT by
Following a couple of leaks in recent weeks, Beats today is officially announcing four new colors for its Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones: Spring Yellow, Cloud Pink, Lava Red, and Glacier Blue. The new earphones will go on sale June 9 and sell for the same $249.95 price as the existing color options. Aside from the colors, the new Powerbeats Pro models are otherwise identical to the...

Apple Making It Harder to Avoid Nagging macOS Update Notifications

Thursday May 28, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
With the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.5 and related security updates for macOS Mojave and High Sierra earlier this week, Apple is making it more difficult for users to ignore available software updates and remain on their current operating system versions. Included in the release notes for macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is the following:- Major new releases of macOS are no longer hidden when...

8 Mac Tips and Tricks You Might Not Know

Friday May 29, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
There are tons of hidden features and shortcuts for Macs that Apple has built into macOS over the years, ranging from shortcuts to keyboard commands to other little hacks to make Mac usage just a bit simpler. In our latest YouTube video, we highlighted several of these tips and tricks, and some of them might just be new to you. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Tr...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.5 With Battery Health Management Features, Fix for Finder Freezing

Tuesday May 26, 2020 1:59 pm PDT by
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.5, the fifth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October 2019. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 comes two months after the launch of macOS Catalina 10.15.4, which introduced Screen Time Communication Limits. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is a free update that can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the...

Top Stories: macOS 10.15.5, New Powerbeats Pro Colors, iPhone 12 and 13 Rumors, and More

Saturday May 30, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
This week saw an interesting mix of news and rumors on the Apple front, led by the release of macOS 10.15.5, which brings a new battery health feature to newer Mac notebooks, while we also saw the official announcement of new colors for the Powerbeats Pro earphones. On the rumor front, we heard a few tidbits about not just this year's iPhone 12 but also next year's iPhone, while we saw...

More Photos and Video of Apple's Redesigned Leather Loop Watch Band Surface

Thursday May 28, 2020 10:50 am PDT by
Images of a new version of the Leather Loop that Apple appears to have in development surfaced yesterday, and today, Vietnamese site Tinhte.vn has shared additional photos and videos that give us a clearer picture of what to expect from the new band. The bands come in colors that include red, hot pink, blue, black, and brown, with some of the bands featuring different colored accents at the...

Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box Gains HDR10+ and Dolby Vision Support, Plus Siri Voice Control

Thursday May 28, 2020 12:00 am PDT by
The Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is receiving a major update today, introducing much-desired features like HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support. Designed by Signify as part of the Philip Hue line of lights and accessories, the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is designed to let Hue users sync their lights to their home entertainment systems. One of the major complaints about the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box ...

APFS Bug in macOS 10.15.5 Catalina Impacts the Creation of Bootable Backups

Thursday May 28, 2020 3:47 am PDT by
An Apple File System bug has been discovered in macOS 10.15.5 Catalina that can prevent users from making a bootable clone of their system drive, according to the creator of Carbon Copy Cloner. In a blog post on Wednesday, software developer Mike Bombich explained that the CCC team had uncovered the issue in the Apple File System, or APFS, when attempting to create a bootable backup in a...