Apple gives in to developers, delays iOS 14 ad privacy feature to 2021 [Updated]

Russian lawmaker introduces bill to cap Apple's App Store fees to 20%
Russian lawmaker introduces bill to cap Apple's App Store fees to 20% (Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

Updated 9/3/2020 10:35 AM PT: Apple confirms that it won't require developers to support this feature until early next year

What you need to know

  • Apple has reportedly shelved plans for a new iOS 14 ad-tracking privacy feature.
  • The feature was going to make apps ask users if they could track them from one app to another.
  • Some companies weren't happy about the impact it would have on ad revenue, and Apple has reportedly listened.

Apple has reportedly shelved plans for an iOS 14 feature that would force app developers to ask users if they could track them across multiple apps. According to The Information (opens in new tab), Apple has delayed the feature after pushback from developers.

Facebook has been very vocal in its stance on the new feature, saying that it could cut ad revenue significantly. And now it seems Apple has listened.

Apple has told some developers that it plans to delay the enforcement of a controversial change to its next mobile operating system that would upend how ads are targeted on iPhones and iPads, according to people familiar with the matter.

Facebook isn't the only one Apple has been listening to, either. The company has reportedly reached out to big gaming companies including Activision Blizzard and Supercell. I doubt Epic Games was one of the companies consulted, though!

There are signs that Apple has heard concerns from developers and advertisers. Since announcing the IDFA change in June, Apple's App Store team has asked a handful of gaming firms, including Activision Blizzard, Tencent-owned Supercell, and N3twork, to share how the change will impact their businesses, according to people familiar with the talks.

If this is indeed accurate, it isn't a great look for Apple. This news comes on the same day the company released a YouTube ad all about how iPhone keeps our information private.

And that's true. Until someone starts to complain that iPhone keeps it a little too private. I've reached out to Apple for comment and will update here when if and when I get a response.

Apple confirms that it won't require developers to support this feature until early next year

In a statement to Techcrunch, Apple confirmed that it won't require developers to allow users to opt-out of ad tracking until early next year.

We believe technology should protect users' fundamental right to privacy, and that means giving users tools to understand which apps and websites may be sharing their data with other companies for advertising or advertising measurement purposes, as well as the tools to revoke permission for this tracking. When enabled, a system prompt will give users the ability to allow or reject that tracking on an app-by-app basis. We want to give developers the time they need to make the necessary changes, and as a result, the requirement to use this tracking permission will go into effect early next year.

Apple hasn't announced an exact date for when the policy would take effect.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • Tim Cuck, CEO.
  • Compared to most corporate CEOs? Hardly. That said, this is disappointing, but, to be fair, we won’t know how this will play out until next year.
  • Apple won't cave on 30% to developers they they're caving to the fascist Mark Suckerberg