Facebook and Instagram threaten to charge for access on iOS 14.5 unless you give them your data

Facebook Instagram Att Warning
Facebook Instagram Att Warning (Image credit: Facebook)

What you need to know

  • Facebook and Instagram are desperate for users to give them access to data and are threatening to charge if they say no.
  • As of iOS 14.5, apps must ask a user for permission to track them from app to app.

Facebook and Instagram are threatening that users will need to pay for their services. But only if users don't allow the pair to track them from app to app after installing iOS 14.5.

Following the release of iOS 14.5 all apps must ask for permission before they can track a user between apps and websites. That has companies like Facebook worried about their ad revenue, and they're trying every trick in the book to make sure people allow them to track them.

To help people make a more informed decision, we're also showing a screen of our own, along with Apple's. It will provide more information about how we use personalized ads, which support small businesses and keep apps free. If you accept the prompts for Facebook and Instagram, the ads you see on those apps won't change. If you decline, you will still see ads, but they will be less relevant to you. Agreeing to these prompts doesn't result in Facebook collecting new types of data. It just means that we can continue to give people better experiences.

Those screens are blatantly suggesting that users can "help keep Facebook/Instagram free" by allowing ads. That, in turn, suggests that declining could cause the companies to charge for access in the future, though it's unclear how likely that is given Facebook's ad-based business model.


It's also notable that Apple's App Store rules forbid apps from offering incentives for users to allow themselves to be tracked. It isn't immediately clear whether Facebook and Instagram are breaking that rule here or not, but it's definitely close!

Speaking of tracking, Apple's new AirTag item tracker is now here but is it the best for you? Check out the best alternatives to AirTag, too.

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.