Apple is planning a major new privacy feature for iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, and it will require companies to request permission before tracking users across other apps and sites. While Apple has not given details on when this feature will debut, it looks like the early groundwork is starting to roll out.
The privacy feature in question is dual. First, users will be able to access privacy controls in the Settings app under the “Privacy” menu. Here, users will be able to see which apps have required permission to track them and revoke or grant permission when needed.
Users will also see a pop-up message when they open an application for the first time after this feature is rolled out. Users will see the notification for new apps as well as those they already have on their devices. This pop-up is where companies like Facebook can explain to users why they need to enable tracking.
Facebook has been a critical critic of this new feature, saying it will affect small businesses and hurt their ability to reach new customers. Apple has dismissed this criticism, saying the feature does not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users, instead just seeking permission.
As first reported by MacRumors, some users now see the tracking prompt on their iPhone, but only for certain applications. For example, a user received a pop-up window when he opened the NBA app, saying that the app requested permission “to track your activity across other company’s apps and sites.”
Apple had originally hoped to launch this new privacy feature as part of iOS 14 in September, but it ended up delaying the rollout to give developers more time to prepare. However, the company has repeatedly doubled the feature and promised to launch it in early 2021.
Apple released the first developer and public beta versions of iOS 14.4 last week following the stable release of iOS 14.3 to all. Based on precedent, we expect iOS 14.4 to be released to everyone by January at the earliest.
However, some iOS users report that they have seen this pop up on iOS 14.3 and iOS 14.2. This could mean that it’s a server-side change, that Apple is in the process of implementing, or that some developers have started implementing the feature prior to an official “release”.
Have you seen this privacy tracking prompt on iOS 14 in any applications? Let us know in the comments!
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