Apple forces Google’s iPhone apps to stop tracking users online

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A group called Google You Owe Us wants $1000 each after Google invaded their privacy
Millions in Britain wants $1000 each because they claim Google invaded their privacy
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Google’s iOS applications will comply with Apple’s App Tracking Transparency policy, according to a blog post from the company on Wednesday. That means these applications won‘t have to specifically ask users to permit the app to track them online.

Apple’s ATT policy hasn’t gone into effect yet, but it’ll give iPhone and iPad users more privacy. And it’s expected to cost advertisers billions.

“When Apple’s policy goes into effect, we will no longer use information (such as IDFA) that falls under ATT for the handful of our iOS apps that currently use it for advertising purposes,” wrote Christophe Combette the head of Google Ads, in a blog post. “As such, we will not show the ATT prompt on those apps.”

The IDentifier For Advertisers is Apple’s way for advertisers to track users. The iPhone-maker isn’t killing off the IDFA, just requiring that users consent to its use on an app-by-app basis with the ATT prompt.

Your iPhone will soon offer a bit more privacy.
This is Apple’s example of the upcoming ATT prompt asking if an application can track you.
Graphic: Apple

There were early signs that Apple would implement the ATT in iOS 14.4 and the iPad equivalent, but these were released on Tuesday and the new policy isn’t in place yet.

Apple’s privacy change hits Google’s profits

In 2019, Google’s parent company Alphabet got over 80% of its total revenue from ad sales. Apple letting users block tracking is likely to decrease that amount. And that’s just the start. Combette’s blog post warns advertisers that, “app publishers may see a significant impact to their Google ad revenue on iOS after Apple’s ATT policies take effect.”

Many free applications make money by selling advertising space. These apps will have to ask permission to track users to continue to sell targeted ads. And targeted ads bring in more revenue.