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
19 months ago
Nice. So, uh, when’ll we have the option to encrypt iCloud services and data?
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
guzhogi Avatar
19 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
19 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
19 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
19 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
19 months ago


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

Related Stories

app tracking transparency twitter

Twitter Begins Asking Users to Enable Ad Tracking

Friday May 14, 2021 2:12 pm PDT by
Following an app update, Twitter today began asking users to enable ad tracking under Apple's App Tracking Transparency rules. After updating to version 8.65, which adds Spaces support, Twitter users will begin seeing a popup that asks them to "keep ads relevant" by allowing Twitter to track data from other companies like apps used and websites visited. Tapping "Continue" on the popup...
tim cook mark zuckerberg

Apple's Privacy Measures to Cost Facebook $10 Billion in 2022

Thursday February 3, 2022 12:30 am PST by
Facebook has said measures being taken by Apple on iOS that make it harder for platforms and apps to track users across other apps and websites will cost its business $10 billion in 2022. Facebook yesterday reported $33.67 billion in revenue, and while higher than expected, earnings per share were shy of analyst expectations. Facebook, renamed to Meta, also offered lower guidance for the...
craig wwdc 2021 privacy

Apple's Privacy Features Have Cost Social Media Companies Nearly $10 Billion in Revenue

Monday November 1, 2021 4:42 am PDT by
As a result of its privacy features, Apple has cost social media companies including Meta, formerly known as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube, nearly $10 billion in revenue in the second half of 2021, according to an investigation by the Financial Times. The Financial Times found that most users have opted out of tracking using Apple's App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, a...
craig wwdc 2021 privacy

Report Highlights How Top Apple Executives Disagreed Over How Far iOS Anti-Tracking Measures Should Go

Monday March 14, 2022 7:19 am PDT by
A new report has highlighted how three top prominent executives initially found themselves at odds in early deliberations about Apple's App Tracking Transparency framework. According to the report from The Information, the executives who disagreed over how far Apple should go in protecting user privacy in digital advertising included Apple's Craig Federighi, who oversees software...
generic tracking prompt blue

Apps Continuing to Track Users Despite Apple's Privacy Prompt

Monday June 7, 2021 8:04 am PDT by
Apple is facing increasing pressure to tighten its App Tracking Transparency rules after it was found that third parties are using workarounds to identify users who do not consent to be tracked, according to the Financial Times. Apple rules around App Tracking Transparency, which came into effect as part of iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5, require apps to ask for consent to track users across...
tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
generic tracking prompt green

Report: iOS Users Who Opt-Out of App Tracking Continue to Be Tracked by Facebook and Snapchat

Wednesday December 8, 2021 5:50 am PST by
"Loose" interpretations of Apple's privacy policies allow apps such as Facebook and Snapchat to continue tracking users for targeted advertising even when they have asked to not be tracked, The Financial Times reports. In May, Apple launched its App Tracking Transparency feature that allows users to opt-out of being tracked across apps and websites for advertising purposes. Seven months...
maxresdefault

Apple Shares Video Explaining How App Tracking Transparency Works

Monday April 26, 2021 11:22 am PDT by
Now that iOS 14.5 is available to the public, App Tracking Transparency is being enforced by Apple. Developers are no longer able to access the advertising identifier of your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV without your express permission, which will prevent developers from tracking you across apps and websites for ad targeting preferences. If that sounds confusing, Apple has created an App...

Popular Stories

iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.0.2 With Bug Fixes for iPhone 14 Pro Camera Vibration, Copy/Paste Issue and More

Thursday September 22, 2022 1:04 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS 16.0.2, addressing a number of bugs that iPhone 14 owners have been experiencing since the new devices launched. iOS 16.0.2 comes two weeks after the launch of iOS 16, and it follows iOS 16.0.1, an update made available to iPhone 14 owners on launch day. The update is available for all iPhones that are capable of running iOS 16. The iOS 16.0.2 update can be...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Don't Want the Apple Watch Ultra or Series 8? Amazon Has Record Low Prices on Series 7 Models This Week

Friday September 23, 2022 6:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra are now available to purchase, but if you aren't interested in these updates you can save a lot of money on Series 7 models right now on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. The best deals are on cellular...
Dynamic Island For Android Users Feature

Android App Copying iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island Released on Play Store

Thursday September 22, 2022 7:57 am PDT by
A copycat version of the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island has arrived on Android's Google Play Store in the form of an app called "dynamicSpot." The app, still in beta, offers customers several different experiences at the top of their smartphones. In its current form, dynamicSpot offers playback control for songs, timers, battery status, and more features coming soon, according to the app's...
maxresdefault

Video Review: Four Days With the iPhone 14 Pro Max

Wednesday September 21, 2022 7:49 am PDT by
Apple on Friday released the new iPhone 14 models, and MacRumors videographer Dan picked one up on launch day. He's been using the iPhone 14 Pro Max non-stop since it came out, and over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, has shared his initial thoughts on the day-to-day experience with the latest iPhone. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Dan's mini review highlights...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

New 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pros Reportedly Launching Later This Year

Friday September 23, 2022 7:08 am PDT by
Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro models in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report does not mention specific models, but it very likely refers to the next-generation 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros given that the 13-inch model was already updated earlier this year. There has been uncertainty surrounding the timing of new 14-inch and...
facebook meta

Meta Sued Over Tracking iPhone Users Despite Apple's Privacy Features

Thursday September 22, 2022 5:12 am PDT by
Meta is facing a new proposed class action lawsuit that accuses it of tracking and collecting the personal data of iPhone users, despite features and policies made by Apple which are meant to stop that same type of tracking. In August, it was revealed that with the Facebook and Instagram apps, Meta can track all of a user's key taps, keyboard inputs, and more, when using the in-app browser....
AirPods Max 2022 Colors

Ten Things AirPods Pro 2 Tell Us About AirPods Max 2

Saturday September 24, 2022 1:00 am PDT by
Upon the release of the second-generation AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max became the oldest current-generation AirPods product still in Apple's lineup. Introducing several new features like Adaptive Transparency and the H2 chip, the second-generation AirPods Pro may provide some of the best indications yet of what to expect from the second-generation AirPods Max. Almost two years later, rumors...
new airpods pro ear tips

Apple Explains Why Second-Generation AirPods Pro Ear Tips Are Incompatible With Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 22, 2022 3:12 pm PDT by
Apple today explained why the new silicone ear tips for the second-generation AirPods Pro are not officially compatible with the original AirPods Pro. In an updated support document, Apple said the original AirPods Pro ear tips have "noticeably denser mesh" than the second-generation ear tips. Apple did not provide any additional details, but the mesh density could result in acoustical...
AirPods Pro Second Generation 2 Pairing Feature 1

AirPods Pro 2 Engravings Appear in iOS During Pairing and Connecting

Friday September 23, 2022 9:40 am PDT by
Customers who personalize their second-generation AirPods Pro charging case with an engraving will now have that engraving reflected directly on iOS as they pair and connect their AirPods Pro. Apple allows customers to personalize their AirPods Pro charging case with a special engraving that can include select emojis and Memojis. Unlike before, starting with the second-generation AirPods...