Keep private: iOS 14.5 software update for iPhone lets you prevent app developers from tracking you
Apple has released the highly anticipated software that gives iPhone users more control over their privacy. As a major part of the free iOS 14.5 upgrade that arrived on Monday, you will start seeing the following prompt when launching an app: “Allow the XYZ app to track your activity across other companies’ apps and website?”
Indeed it's your choice. You're not supposed to be penalized in any way should you decline the request. And developers indeed have to ask, since Apple has made this App Tracking Transparency feature a requirement.
The requirement hasn’t set well with Facebook or its CEO Mark Zuckerberg who has gotten into a rift over privacy with his Apple counterpart Tim Cook.
Facebook claims it “threatens the personalized ads that millions of small businesses rely on to find and reach customers.” It would certainly appear to hurt Facebook, whose lifeblood is tied to such targeted ads.
Apple on the other hand makes money by selling devices and services, rather than by making the user (and user data) the product.
Apple has long called privacy a human right and even marketed privacy through some of its ads. The company recently updated “A Day in the life of Your Data” report for consumers that aims to simplify how companies track user data.
"Privacy is a competitive edge right now," says Gennie Gebhart, a privacy researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation advocacy group. "The App Tracking Transparency...is fantastic. I dare Google to do the same thing in the Android ecosystem."
Privacy is top of mind for many consumers these days, including older adults. As I wrote in my latest piece for AARP, 34 percent of people age 50 and older surveyed by AARP Research cited privacy concerns as a top barrier to adopting new technology, behind only cost (38 percent) and lack of knowledge (37 percent).
To download iOS 14.5 to your iPhone, go to Settings > General and then tap> Software Update.
This latest update goes beyond privacy and, among other features, lets you use the $29 AirTag trackers Apple announced last week to help you find lost keys, wallets and other items.
The update also lets those of you wearing an Apple Watch unlock an iPhone with your face even while wearing a mask.
Photos courtesy of Apple.