Apple Starts Process To Yank Developer Access To UDID in iOS 5 [Privacy]

Apple Starts Process To Yank Developer Access To UDID in iOS 5 [Privacy]

There are a lot of changes being made by Apple to iOS 5. Each new beta reveals a little more about the changes everyone can expect after iOS 5 is released to the public in a few months. There is one big change that Apple hasn’t said a lot about publicly and developers might be surprised by it.

Apple has notified developers via a recent update to iOS 5 documentation that they will be removing access to the unique device identifier (UDID) on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Although this probably doesn’t sound like much to most of you reading this it is very important. The UDID identifies users for a variety of reasons that include, but are not limited to: mobile ad tracking, gaming (scores, etc.), and just for identifying a device and later its user. This will be a big issue for developers who’re going to be forced to come up with their own way of uniquely identifying users. If you are privacy fanatic this is good for you, but developers will effectively lose all their historical data and they will just have to start collecting it all over again.

According to TechCrunch here is the language from the Apple Developer documentation:

Deprecated in iOS 5.0

uniqueIdentifier
An alphanumeric string unique to each device based on various hardware details. (read-only) (Deprecated in iOS 5.0. Instead, create a unique identifier specific to your app.)

We agree with TechCrunch that this looks like Apple’s response to privacy concerns or just a way to prevent them. That isn’t a bad thing. We know that many people aren’t all that excited about their UDIDs being used to target them for advertising. However, although Apple is removing UDID access from developers there isn’t any evidence that Apple won’t still be using it for Game Center, iAds, or other reasons.

So what do you say developers is this a big deal or isn’t it?

  • AndreGSNE

    Apple is just killing themselves by doing this.

  • prof_peabody

    Because people like having their privacy violated?  Your not making sense.  The developers and advertisers that want to track people online are not Apple’s customers, their victims are.  

  • sonnyfazio

    Developers can create their own UUID. Use the Serial number, Mac Address, or any other unique id. 

  • Jose Rodriguez

    If people wanted privacy, they wouldn’t be using the internet or any of it’s services..

  • lls45
  • baby_Twitty

    I would say its  a big deal for developers who are evil and want to track their targeted customers/victims.

    But overall for most honest developers, its not, as there is a work-around for them to track app data without UDID.

    and so i’m all for Apple’s initiative to try to restrict UDID access to developers.

    so that they can only track the app usage and not so much the user.

  • AndreGSNE

    hmmn…i wonder if apple stopped jailbreaking altogether,would their sales go down?they seem to be more and more protective.

  • lsl67
  • ereins158

    It’s UDID, not UUID. And developers should have never been able to access UDID’s from the start. They’ll release updates to their apps, and people won’t know the difference, so they shouldn’t make a huge deal about it now.

  • David

    When you buy a car do you immediately want to change it, modify it just because you can?  Duh?  Many folks just want a solid device that works, who cares about special options that the jailbreaker seem to insist upon.  Security, system integrity, not having to fix, fix, fix, wonder why doesn’t this work now, etc.  Some of us just don’t want the hassle.

  • DavidWMartin

    Thanks Josh – fixed that. Long day and way toooo many acronyms in my life. 

  • applehaters

    This is not a smart move for Apple.  That seems to be a trend for them lately. Lying in court, suing everything that moves, etc.

    http://bit.ly/dI3hcF

  • aquraishi

    Good point David. You’ll always have modders but they make up a minority of the customer base. I also think Apple closing down jailbreak vectors has less to do with preventing jailbreaking than with fixing security vulnerabilities. That said, I think manufacturers should leave jailbreaking communities alone as they’re a good potential innovation sandbox and can be learned from. Sony’s position on suing modders is just stupid and has alienated a particularly passionate branch of their user community.

  • lsla81
  • prof_peabody

    Isn’t it kind of ironic that you’re basically calling Apple out for immoral behaviour but at the same time you’re spamming the comments list with an ad for your site? 

  • Jose Rodriguez

    You missed the entire point of his post. NO, everyone does not have an urge to modify their car, but he was talking about the ABILITY to. What if you couldn’t change your own tires or oil? What if you couldn’t clean the inside of your car? What if everytime you wanted to do something you were forbidden?

    THAT is what he is talking about. I have a firm belief that while the general population would not be affected by a jailbreak shutout, it would drive a noticeable portion away.

  • Alexander Maxham
  • Bozo

    iPhone Pro and iPad Pro to be launched soon? hell yea!

    read it, and understand why.

    http://wp.me/p1Mrnd-1i

    the Bozo.

  • CharliK

    There is no way to totally stop jail breaking. Even if they gave in and let every app on the devices, even if they were unlocked from day one, someone would find a reason to want to jailbreak and do it

    And when Apple closes a hole, they will find another

  • lls69
  • lls69
  • lelh69
  • lls69
  • AshleyJacksons5456

    I just paíd $20.87 for an íPad 2.64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasoníc Lumíx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UP S.I will never pay such expensive retail príces in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LCD T V to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from, bit.ly/BidShop

  • AndreGSNE

    Do you know why i bought a iTouch?it’s because of the community.millions of people have an ios device.Frankly,i find the games boring after a while.Jailbreaking gives me the convienence and entertainment that i want.example,itunes,to put a song,i have to plug it into the com and before that it has to sync?what trouble.my itouch just needs to download a song from safari,then i can just import it into my ipod library.To me,if i couldn’t jailbreak,i wouldn’t have paid for it.

  • AshelyWine502024

    I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from,http://bit.ly/PeNNyBid

  • Rann Xeroxx

    So by your logic it people wanted privacy they would never leave their homes, homes that have tinfoil pasted on the windows, would not send their kids to public schools, own a car, get a SSN, etc.  

    Obviously everyone else doesn’t care about privacy. 

  • AlexaAdam5230

    I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from, http://bit.ly/CentBid

  • lals188
  • sarahadam17169698

    I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from, http://bit.ly/CentBid

  • lals188
  • llh77
  • lsl98
  • Smith Jessica

    I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from, http://bit.ly/CentBid

  • lals16
  • sarah808

    what are the work arounds?

About the author

David W. MartinDavid W. Martin has more than 20 years of experience in the industry as a programmer, systems and business analyst, author, and consultant. David has written for CNET's iPhoneatlas.com, MacLife.com, CultofMac.com, BYTE.com and recently for aNewDoman.net. He comes to Cult of Mac's website with deep knowledge and passion for the all things Apple. Follow David on Twitter @david_w_martin or see what he's up to now at davidwmartin.com.

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