Google iOS apps will work around Apple’s new privacy requirements

JC Torres - Jan 27, 2021, 8:07pm CST
Google iOS apps will work around Apple’s new privacy requirements

iOS 14 will bring many big changes but the most controversial one is perhaps the new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy. It’s controversial at least for some major companies like Facebook who made a very big stink about the changes. It isn’t the only big Internet advertising platform around, though, and Google and its customers are just as affected by it. Google, however, is more diplomatic about it even as it is practically saying it has found a way around having to prompt users about tracking them.

Apple has been clear that it isn’t completely banning tracking users for the purpose of personalized or targeted advertising. What it is forcing app developers and advertisers to do is ask for users’ permission outright when they want to track them across other apps and websites. On a technical level, it means that apps and services using information such as a device’s IDFA or Identifier for Advertisers need to ask permission first.

Instead of doing that, however, Google will be complying with the ATT rules by not using the unique IDFA that falls under the policy. By doing so, Google will no longer have to display the prompt when users open up its apps. Of course, that doesn’t mean Google has other user-tracking methods employed, just that those may not fall under the ATT’s jurisdiction, at least not yet.

That said, this workaround only applies to Google’s own apps and not to other apps that rely on Google’s advertising platform even on iOS. Those will still be affected and are advised to update to the latest version of Google’s Mobile Ads SDK. Google notes that it is still working to understand and comply with Apple’s guidelines, suggesting that it might be a bit cryptic for everyone other than Apple.

While Google differs from Facebook in how it’s approaching the situation, it does agree with the social networking giant on one thing. Google warns advertisers that they might see a significant impact on ad revenues on iOS so they better keep an eye out and be prepared for the worst.


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