Apple Highlights iPhone's Latest Privacy Features in New 'Data Auction' Ad

Apple today shared a new ad highlighting iPhone privacy features like App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection that are designed to give users more transparency and control when it comes to their personal data being collected.

apple data auction iphone privacy ad
The ad revolves around a young woman named Ellie who discovers that her personal data is being sold at an auction house, with bids being placed on her iPhone's emails, purchase history, location data, contacts, browsing history, and more. Upon realizing that her data is being sold, Ellie makes use of App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection, at which point the auctioneer and bidders suddenly begin to vanish into thin air.

In a white paper last year, Apple said that the average mobile app has six embedded trackers from third-party companies for the "sole purpose of collecting and tracking people and their personal information," fueling an industry valued at $227 billion per year. Apple's message behind its new ad is that the iPhone allows users to limit this tracking.


App Tracking Transparency, for example, allows users to choose whether an app can track their activity across other companies' apps and websites for the purposes of advertising or sharing information with data brokers. On devices running iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, tvOS 14.5, or later, apps that wish to track a user based on their device's unique advertising identifier can only do so if the user allows it when prompted.

In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection prevents email senders from learning information about a user's email activity. When the feature is enabled, it hides the user's IP address and prevents senders from seeing if the user opened their emails. The feature was introduced as part of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8.

The ad comes as Apple has been advocating against regulations like the European Union's proposed Digital Markets Act, which would require Apple to allow sideloading of apps on the iPhone outside of the App Store. In recent months, Apple's CEO Tim Cook and software engineering chief Craig Federighi have both argued that sideloading would expose iPhone users to privacy and security risks.

Alongside the ad, Apple said it will be launching a billboard campaign in select U.S. cities with the slogan "Privacy. That's iPhone."

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Top Rated Comments

gaximus Avatar
27 months ago

"Unless it's your photos... then we can scan them. And if you message anyone who isn't on imessage because we won't release it to all other platforms" - Apple
Apple doesn't scan photos, your phone scans your photos, on your phone, and not sold. And they canceled that "feature"
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gaximus Avatar
27 months ago

I work in email marketing and the unnecessary Apple Mail privacy changes are causing havoc. So unwarranted and a detriment to the customer.

I find this advert misleading - it implies we as a business sell on info about a customers open habits.

We don’t.
Nor does any other company.

Why!

It’s worthless data.

But helps us understand as a channel how we are doing
.

I look forward to Apple putting this ad up in traditional media so I can file a complaint with the ASA.
So then it's not worthless, it's useful to your company. You probably use the open habits to detect if its a real address and that is valuable information that can be sold, and companies do sell that information.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Derekuda Avatar
27 months ago
"Unless it's your photos... then we can scan them. And if you message anyone who isn't on imessage because we won't release it to all other platforms" - Apple
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Freida Avatar
27 months ago
I think we can all agree that more havoc is needed. What I do with my email etc. is none of anyones business. Email marketing should have ZERO of my data unless I provide it to them willingly.

So if anything, Apple is not doing enough. There needs to be more.




I work in email marketing and the unnecessary Apple Mail privacy changes are causing havoc. So unwarranted and a detriment to the customer - all Apple want to do is make life difficult for other tech firms.

I find this advert misleading - it implies we as a business sell on info about a customers email engagement, unhelpful fear mongering.

We don’t.
Nor does any other company.
Why!
It’s worthless data.
When you have millions of customers in your CRM program you aggregate the stats. It helps us understand as a channel how we are doing.

I look forward to Apple putting this ad up in traditional media so I can file a complaint with the ASA.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
danbalsh Avatar
27 months ago
good ad, I liked it.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oneMadRssn Avatar
27 months ago

Apple doesn't scan photos, your phone scans your photos, on your phone, and not sold. And they canceled that "feature"
Fwiw, it's also scanned on iCloud photos (on Apple's servers). That feature has not been cancelled, it's alive and kicking for years now.

However, it's a false equivalency. This ad is about selling private data on the open market. It is indisputable that Apple doesn't do this with photos or anything really.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)