Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on UDID:

iSpy: Snowden leak shows how the UK tracked iPhone users


UDID identifiers could be used to link iPhones to their users. Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple has long been outspoken about the measures it goes to to keep your iPhone secure, but new documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden demonstrate how the British spy agency GCHQ was able to carry out “realtime tracking of target iPhones” — by compromising users’ computers.

Rather than directly targeting the iPhones, GCHQ agents focused their attack on the computers with which the iPhones were synchronised, enabling them to access much of the data stored on the handset. The method took advantage of flaws in Apple’s UDID (unique device identifier) system, which issued a unique code for every iPhone, linking it with its owner.

The iPhone tracking report was handed over by Snowden to a group of nine journalists — including Laura Poitras, the filmmaker behind the acclaimed documentary Citizenfour.

Why You Probably Shouldn’t Install iOS 7 Right Now [Opinion]



In the words of Apple itself, iOS 7 is the biggest change to their mobile operating system since the introduction of the original iPhone back in 2007. It’s more functional then ever, it’s prettier than ever: it’s the very definition of digital design purified and clarified down to the very basics of form merged with function.

Understandably, that means that many people are tempted to install it on their devices, either by forking over $99 for an Apple developer account or paying five or ten bucks to someone online to register your UDID for you.

We know it’s hard to wait, but you really shouldn’t do it. Here’s why.

Apple To Start Rejecting Apps That Use UDIDs And Don’t Support The iPhone 5 On May 1



Apple has warned developers for nearly a year that apps should not use UDIDs, and that they will be rejected in the future. A deadline has finally come on UDID apps, as Apple just announced they will reject any apps that use UDIDs starting on May 1st.

Another stipulation on Apple’s deadline, is that all apps must support the iPhone 5’s 4-inch display too. Here are the full notes on the deadline:

Apple Starting To Reject Apps That Use Cookies To Track Users



Apple has been historically fickle about how it lets marketers and developers track iOS users through apps downloaded from the App Store. After all of the privacy concerns were raised about the UDID device identifier back in 2011, a better solution never presented itself.

Apple eventually introduced its own Advertising Identifier for iOS device tracking purposes, but marketers still favored the unique, permanent nature of the UDID. The UDID worked so well because it was a device-specific identifier that could never be changed. Athough developers were technically banned from using the UDID to track iOS devices more than a year ago, many, many apps still use the deprecated method today.

Apple is reportedly starting to reject apps that use web cookies to track user activity in iOS. Could this mean a reinvigorated push towards the Advertising Identifier again?

Google Maps Boosts iOS 6 Adoption By 29% [Report]



It seems Apple’s problematic new Maps app was discouraging a lot of people from upgrading to iOS 6, the Cupertino company’s latest software. But now that Google Maps is official available as a native iOS app, there’s nothing to stop users from finally performing the upgrade. In fact, its arrival boosted iOS 6 adoption by 29%.

Here’s What’s New In Apple’s Latest iOS 6.1 Beta


Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 15.49.28


Apple released iOS 6.1 beta 3 to registered developers yesterday, but unless your iOS device’s unique identification number (UDID) is registered with Apple’s developer program, you can’t install it. But don’t worry, we can tell you everything that’s new in this version, including some changes to iCloud setup and Passbook sample cards, new mobile-cellular data options, and more.

Your iOS 6 Device Is Tracking You For Advertisers, But It’s Easy To Turn It Off



With iOS 6, Apple has officially deprecated the UDID as a valid means for advertisers to track app users. The UDID functioned sort of like a Social Security Number for your iPhone, allowing advertisers and third parties to track your behavior across multiple apps… a troubling privacy concern for many. But UDID tracking also had many beneficial advantages, like allowing developers to troubleshoot crashing apps and the like, which inspired some third-parties when their many companies started releasing their own alternatives to UDID.

Apple wasn’t going to leave advertisers and developers without an alternative to use in their apps, though. New in iOS 6 is two new IDs: IDFA and IDFV. Yes, both IDs still track you, and the IDFA is specifically used by advertisers to collect data on you. But the good news is that this tracking can easily be turned off, and it’s much less invasive than the UDID.

Obama’s iPad UDID Was Among Those Leaked By AntiSec



President Obama is an Apple user through and through. He answers Reddit questions from a MacBook, got an early iPad from Steve Jobs himself, and Rush Limbaugh even thinks Obama hacked Siri just to mess with him.

But just because you’re the leader of the Free World doesn’t mean you’re not susceptible to AntiSec hacks too. The UDID for President Obama’s iPad may or may not have been among the more than 1 million UDIDs the AntiSec leaked this morning from the FBI’s databases.

The FBI Was Tracking Over 1M+ Apple IDs, And AntiSec Just Leaked Them



Earlier in this year, Apple shut down the unique device identifier or UDID as a valid way for developers to try to track users of their apps.

You have to wonder if they felt a storm coming, as today, the hacking group AntiSec has released more than 12 million UDIDs that they managed to recover from an infilitrated FBI laptop. And your device ID — along with everything you did with the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad associated with it — might just be one of them.

Apple To Release New And Improved Device Tracking Tool For Developers [Report]


iOS 8 is Apple's most privacy-conscious mobile OS yet.
Apple is working on a better tracking solution for its developers.

Following the privacy fiasco surrounding iOS user tracking and Apple’s deprecation of the UDID, a report today says that the company is planning to release a new tool for developers that aids in tracking app users. According to The Wall Street Journal, the software tool’s “new anonymous identifier is likely to rely on a sequence of numbers that isn’t tied to a specific device.”

Want To Know Which iOS Apps Are Accessing Your Personal Data? Clueful Tells You Everything


Clueful helped identify
Clueful promises to identify "misdemeanant apps on your iPhone."

There has recently been a lot of concern into the way in which our iOS apps access our personal data, and then what they do with it once it has been collected. Since the whole Path debacle in particular, users seem to be more concerned by the issue than ever before.

BitDefender is one security firm looking to capitalize upon that concern with a new app called Clueful, which promises reveal what each of your apps is doing with your data and identify the “misdemeanant apps on your iPhone.”

What Is A UDID And Why Is Apple Killing Apps That Track Them? [Feature]


This unique string of alphanumeric text attached to every iPhone and iPad is the source of a lot of privacy concerns.
This unique string of alphanumeric text attached to every iPhone and iPad is the source of a lot of privacy concerns.

Many of us feel a deep personal connection with our iPhones, and small wonder: the average person’s smartphone knows more about them than their spouse or significant other. Our iPhones hold our contacts, photos, videos, music, banking data, texts, emails, voicemails, web logins, apps and more. We use our phones to pay our bills, send texts to our girlfriends, check-in to our favorite club, play games with friends, and much more besides.

That makes our iOS devices a juicy target for tracking, and what most people aren’t aware of is that, historically, Apple has made it very easy to anyone to tell what you do with your iPhone. It’s called a Unique Device Identifier or UDID. Every iOS device has one, and using it, third-parties have been able to put together vast databases tracking almost everything you do with your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

The good news for privacy advocates is that the days of UDID are numbered. Following the recent stink the U.S. Congress raised over how iOS apps handle a user’s personal information without permission, Apple has given an ultimatum to third-party App Store developers: either stop tracking UDIDs or get kicked out of the App Store. Now ad networks and developers are scrambling to agree on a way to track your device in the future.

But are these replacements any good, or do they pose even bigger privacy concerns than UDIDs did?

Groupon Adopts UDID Alternative That Could Become Standard For Developers


AppRedeem is hoping iOS devs will follow Groupon's lead and adopt its UDID alternative.
AppRedeem is hoping iOS devs will follow Groupon's lead and adopt its UDID alternative.

Just six months after announcing that developers must stop accessing a device’s unique device identifier (UDID) within their iOS apps, Apple put its rule into practice last week amid increasing privacy concerns surrounding mobile apps. Any app submitted for App Store approval will soon be rejected if its attempts to access a UDID, and developers need an alternative.

That alternative could come from AppRedeem, a mobile advertising platform for app discovery, branding and monetization, which has developed a system called Organizational Specific Device Identifier, or “ODID,” already being used by Groupon.

Apple Rejecting Apps That Access iOS Device Unique Identifiers Amid Privacy Concerns


iOS 5 icons

Apple warned the iOS development community last August that it would start rejecting applications submitted to the App Store for accessing a user’s unique identifier (UDID). In case you didn’t know, every iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad possesses a unique alphanumeric string used for registration and tracking.

Amid privacy concerns from the U.S. Congress and other groups regarding how apps use an iOS device’s personal info, Apple has decided to start enforcing its new policy in the App Store.