Apple's Craig Federighi on App Tracking Transparency: 'Users Deserve and Need Control' of Data

With Apple now enforcing its App Tracking Transparency rules with the release of iOS 14.5, The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern did an interview with Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi to talk about Apple's aim with the feature and how it works.


For those unfamiliar with App Tracking Transparency, it requires app developers to get express user permission before accessing a user's advertising identifier for ad tracking purposes.

According to Federighi, Apple wanted users to have a choice over when and how they're tracked and how their data is used.

"These devices are so intimately a part of our lives and contain so much of what we're thinking and where we've been and who we've been with that users deserve and need control of that information." He added, "The abuses can range from creepy to dangerous."

Stern also spoke to Facebook's vice president of Ads & Business Product Marketing, who said that people would opt out of ads "without understanding the impact" because of Apple's lack of explanation. He said Facebook is concerned people will opt out because of the prompt, leading to an internet with "more paywalls" and where small businesses are unable to reach their customers.

Facebook has been in a sustained campaign against the App Tracking Transparency changes in iOS 14.5, claiming that Apple is anti-small business and going as far as taking out newspaper ads. Federighi said that Apple was not surprised there was pushback from companies like Facebook, but was "confident it's the right thing." He says the delay in implementation (it was originally slated to be enforced months earlier) was not because of backlash but because Apple wanted to give developers time to adjust to the changes.

When a user declines to allow an app to access the IFDA of the iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, app developers are also prevented from using other means to create a profile of a user with device data and usage habits. App developers found trying to use covert tracking methods will violate Apple's rules. Federighi said that developers who don't follow the guidelines "might not be able to provide updates or their apps could even be removed from the store."

Users can turn off tracking all together in the Privacy section of the Settings app under "Tracking," or let apps ask on an app by app basis.

Business owners and ad industry executives told Stern that people should allow tracking to enable relevant ads that pertain to them, to support small businesses, and to keep the internet free. Users who allow apps to ask about tracking will see popups explaining why users should grant permission.

app tracking transparency
During the beta testing period, metrics gathered by AppsFlyer found a 26 percent opt-in rate per app across close to 550 apps, so some users may still opt to use tracking for their favorite brands.

Related Forum: iOS 14

Top Rated Comments

RedTheReader Avatar
23 months ago
Nice. So, uh, when’ll we have the option to encrypt iCloud services and data?
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
guzhogi Avatar
23 months ago
My philosophy: if you're an app developer and can't make a profit without taking & selling a person's info without their consent, much less knowledge, then you have a poor business model.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GizmoDVD Avatar
23 months ago
My GF was talking to me on the phone last week about how to play the lottery. I've never done it before, never googled it etc.

What does Facebook greet me with? ads for the Lottery.

Apple, good job.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Just sayin... Avatar
23 months ago
“...users deserve and need control of that information...”

I wonder when they’re going to get around to giving us end-to-end encryption of our iCloud backups?

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/01/apple-reportedly-nixed-plan-for-end-to-end-encryption-in-iphone-backups/
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EmotionalSnow Avatar
23 months ago

“...users deserve and need control of that information...”

I wonder when they’re going to get around to giving us end-to-end encryption of our iCloud backups?

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/01/apple-reportedly-nixed-plan-for-end-to-end-encryption-in-iphone-backups/
Probably never. They don’t want customers to have to deal with the experience of losing access to their most important files because they misplaced the password.

It sucks but I can somewhat understand their perspective.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sajlonix Avatar
23 months ago


LETS GOO APPLE! ??
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
iphone 15 pro wifi 6e

Internal Apple Document From Leaker 'Unknownz21' Confirms Wi-Fi 6E Will Be Limited to iPhone 15 Pro Models

Friday January 27, 2023 10:01 am PST by
Multiple rumors have suggested that the next-generation iPhone 15 models will adopt the Wi-Fi 6E standard that Apple has already introduced in the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, and now a leaked document appears to confirm Apple's plans. Sourced from researcher and Apple leaker Unknownz21 (@URedditor), the document features diagrams of the iPhone 15's antenna architecture. D8x refers to the...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Rumored to Have These 8 Features

Friday January 27, 2023 2:11 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least eight exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the eight features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...
top stories 28jan2023

Top Stories: iOS 16.3 Released, iPhone 15 Pro Rumors, macOS Tips and Tricks, and More

Saturday January 28, 2023 6:00 am PST by
Following last week's hardware announcements, this week saw the actual release of several of the new products as well as operating system updates bringing new features and bug fixes across Apple's platforms. This week also saw some fresh rumors about the iPhone 15 lineup and Apple's upcoming AR/VR headset, while we shared some tips to help you get the most of your macOS experience, so read...
Foldable iPhone 2023 Feature Blue

Kuo: Apple to Release Foldable iPad With Carbon Fiber Kickstand in 2024

Monday January 30, 2023 12:55 am PST by
Apple will launch a foldable iPad with a carbon fiber kickstand sometime next year, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a series of tweets, Kuo said he expects an "all-new design foldable iPad" to be the next big product launch in the iPad lineup, with no other major iPad releases in the next nine to 12 months. The analyst said he was "positive" that the foldable device would arrive in...
Hero0013

Best Apple Deals of the Week: 2021 MacBook Pro Gets Massive $500 Markdowns as Samsung Discounts TVs and Memory Accessories

Friday January 27, 2023 11:07 am PST by
As we near the end of January, this week we saw a collection of deals on Apple's iPad Pro, iMac, and the 2021 MacBook Pro. Additionally, we're tracking new sales on TVs and memory accessories from Samsung. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Samsung...