| Cult of Mac

Germany investigates unfair advantages in Apple’s anti-tracking system


Facebook vs. iPhone App Tracking Transparency
There's more to App Tracking Transparency than meets the eye.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

The German government is looking into whether Apple’s App Tracking Transparency system is designed to give Apple an unfair advantage in advertising.

The Bundeskartellamt doesn’t object to the iPhone-maker blocking tracking. But the agency points out that ATT doesn’t block Apple’s own advertising tracking system.

Improved iPhone privacy protections could cost Facebook $20.9 billion and counting


Facebook vs. iPhone App Tracking Transparency
Turns out the answer to this question was “do not track” 80% of the time.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

A tweak to iOS privacy settings made in 2021 has already cost Facebook $8.1 billion, and the social-networking company’s losses will increase by another $12.8 billion in 2022, according to an industry report.

Forcing applications to ask permission before tracking their users’ online activity hurt other companies, too. But nowhere near as much as Facebook.

Facebook is still whining about Apple’s ‘harmful’ privacy features


By running anti-Apple ads in major newspapers, Facebook's taking its battle with Apple to the next level.
Facebook is expected to lose $10 billion to Apple's changes this year alone.
Photo: Thought Catalog/Unsplash CC

Facebook parent company Meta is still bemoaning App Tracking Transparency, the “harmful” feature Apple introduced last year in iOS 14.5 to bolster the privacy of iPhone and iPad users.

The change is “making it harder and more expensive” for businesses to reach their customers, Meta said as advertisers reportedly slash their spending on Facebook and Instagram and turn to rivals like Amazon and Google instead.

Peloton partly blames Apple for post-pandemic sales plunge


Peloton blames Apple for sales slump
It's much more difficult for Peloton to serve targeted ads.
Photo: Peloton

Apple’s efforts to bolster your privacy protections on iPhone and iPad are being blamed for a sharp decline in Peloton sales.

The company enjoyed a boom while everyone was stuck at home during the pandemic, but it has since been forced to cut its outlook by as much as $1 billion. It said this week that Apple’s crackdown on tracking is partly at fault.

App Tracking Transparency hasn’t hurt Facebook’s ad revenue… yet


Facebook logo
Facebook released its latest earnings report Wednesday.
Photo: Brett Jordan/Unsplash

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature hasn’t been enough to stop Facebook from pulling in a massive $28 billion in ad revenue for the second quarter of 2021. That represents a 56% increase year-on-year. Facebook earned $10.4 billion in total profits for the quarter.

While Apple’s anti-tracking privacy measures weren’t explicitly designed to hurt Facebook, Facebook has been outspoken about the impacts they would have on its business. A recent Facebook-funded research paper called the iOS 14 feature an “anti-competitive strategy disguised as a privacy-protecting measure.”

Apple fends off Chinese attempt to get around App Tracking Transparency


App Tracking Transparency will be part of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5 and tvOS 14.5. It’s already showing up in betas.
App Tracking Transparency stops developers tracking users without their permission.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

Apple has thwarted an attempt by multiple Chinese tech companies to get around its App Tracking Transparency feature, the Financial Times reports Monday.

The group of tech companies includes Baidu, Tencent, and TikTok parent company ByteDance. They supposedly worked with a couple of Beijing companies to find a new way to get around Apple’s new privacy measures.

However, Apple blocked updates to several apps that included the workaround, called the Chinese Advertising ID (CAID). In doing so, it enforced its rules in a way that may have surprised the companies in question.

Tim Cook calls Apple’s privacy features a ‘fundamental human right’


Privacy is baked into everything Apple does.
Photo: Privacy

In a new video aimed at the European market, Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about how “privacy is a fundamental human right” that his company works hard to embed into every new product it makes. The six-minute video comprises various clips from Apple’s recent Worldwide Developers Conference related to the topic of privacy. Cook also recorded new bookends in which he shares some of his own thoughts.

Check it out below.

Facebook-backed report calls Apple privacy features anticompetitive


App Tracking Transparency is iOS 14.5's controversial new privacy-related feature.
Is Apple weaponizing privacy to increase its advantage?
Screenshot: Apple

Facebook isn’t backing down in its battle against Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature. And it’s seemingly got a couple of heavy hitter researchers in its corner.

In a Facebook-funded paper published Wednesday, Feng Zhu, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, and D. Daniel Sokol, a professor of law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, take issue with Apple’s new privacy features — referring to them as “an anticompetitive strategy disguised as a privacy-protecting measure.”

Apple takes funny look at apps tracking users in new video


Apple takes funny look at apps tracking users in new video
Apple shows what the world would look like if brick-and-mortar businesses were just as nosy as apps.

Apple has a new video for all the people who took a TL;DR approach to the iPhone’s new App Tracking Transparency. Rather than read an explanation of the feature that debuted in April, there’s a short video showing what the world would look like if brick-and-mortar businesses were able to follow people the way apps can.

The result is pretty funny. Watch it now: