Advertisers panic as iPhone users turn off GPS tracking

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iOS 13.3 in beta
iOS 13 has made it easier for users to shut down location tracking.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Location data, for a long time a river of gold that enriched companies with digital ad revenues, is starting to dry up as more and more consumers deactivate location tracking on their smartphones.

The growing shortage of GPS data became pronounced shortly after the launch iOS 13, which features a pop-up option to cut off tracking if your iPhone detects an app gathering data on your whereabouts.

Since the rollout in the fall of iOS 13, background location data fell off by 68 percent and foreground data by 24 percent, according to a report in Fast Company, which interviewed firms that analyze location data for clients.

Google also told Fast Company that about half of all Android users decline to share location when an app they have launched requests tracking permission.

Another publication, Digiday, said apps are reporting tracking permission rates are under 50 percent.

Location tracking continues, though the opt-outs mean advertisers are working with less data.

“You have an environment in which advertisers have been paying for – at a premium cost – high-quality, highly accurate GPS data,” Jason Smith, chief business officer for the firm Location Sciences, told Fast Company’s Jared Newman. “They’re not confronted with a phenomenon in which that data is less available.”

Source: Fast Company