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iOS apps track you even when ask them nicely not too

by on10 November 2022

So much for paying Apple protection money

While users pay Apple a fortune for protection money to stop app store apps tracking them, independent research shows they still do -- including Apple's own apps.

When Apple introduced iOS 14.5 the Tame Apple Press said that would mean the end of apps being able to track you without permission. It bought in what Apple called App Tracking Transparency, a privacy tool which gives users the option to prevent third-party apps from tracking them with identifying information, all in an effort to better safeguard their personal information.

However, two app developers from software company Mysk have found that, despite an apparent push for transparency and privacy, many of Apple’s own apps are continuing to collect such data.

Mysk said the flaws in App Tracking Transparency should be a “privacy concern”, and he shared screenshots and videos of the data collected during a 10-minute App Store browsing session on a device running iOS 14.6.

Data collected included details on the device type, screen resolution, installed keyboards, network connection, and other IDs, which are typically used for digital fingerprinting - exactly what iOS 14.5 aimed to prevent with App Tracking Transparency.

This was despite disabling personalised ads, personalised recommendations, and sharing usage data and analytics, according to Mysk.

Mysk found that Apple was collecting data for other apps, too, including Stocks, Books, Apple Music, Appel TV, and iTunes Store, however no analytics data was being transmitted for Health and Wallet.

Mysk’s Twitter thread continues: “It's unclear if Apple still collects analytics data in iOS 16” - Apple’s latest major release for its iPhone lineup that debuted with the launch of the iPhone 14 range.

If this is all true it means that Apple users have a false sense of security which is probably no surprise to anyone. However, Apple makes a big deal about how it takes a 33 per cent cut of the apps prices to avoid this sort of thing.


Last modified on 10 November 2022
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