Apple is planning an important new privacy feature for iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, and this will require companies to request permission before tracking users on other apps and websites. Although Apple has not provided details on when this feature will be launched, it appears that the initial foundations are beginning to be implemented.
The privacy feature in question is twofold. First, users will be able to access the privacy controls in the Settings application in the “Privacy” menu. Here, users will be able to see which apps require permission to track them and revoke or grant permission when needed.
Users will also see a pop-up message when they open an application for the first time after implementing this feature. Users will see notification of new applications, as well as those they already have on their devices. This pop-up is where companies like Facebook can explain to users why they should enable tracking.
Facebook has strongly criticized this new feature, saying it will affect small businesses and hinder their ability to reach new customers. Apple rejected this criticism, saying the feature will not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users, instead, just ask for permission.
As first reported by MacRumors, some users are now seeing the tracking prompt on their iPhone, but only for certain applications. For example, a user received a pop-up when opening the NBA application, saying that the application was requesting permission “to track its activity on other companies’ applications and websites”.
Apple originally hoped to launch this new privacy feature as part of iOS 14 in September, but ended up delaying the launch to give developers more time to prepare. The company has repeatedly doubled the resource, however, and has promised to launch it in early 2021.
Apple released the first developer and public betas of iOS 14.4 last week, after the stable release of iOS 14.3 for everyone. Based on the precedent, we expect iOS 14.4 to be released to everyone in January at the earliest.
However, some iOS users are reporting that they saw this pop-up on iOS 14.3 and iOS 14.2. This could mean that it is a server-side change that Apple is in the process of implementing or that certain developers have started to implement the feature before an official “release”.
Have you seen this privacy tracking prompt on iOS 14 in any app? Let us know in the comments!
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