No incentives for iOS 14.5 app tracking allowed, says Apple

How to use widgets on your iPhone Home screen
How to use widgets on your iPhone Home screen (Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple's major iOS 14.5 changes are now live.
  • New Apple guidance says developers must not offer incentives or withhold features in order to entice people to agree to be tracked.

Apple has told developers that they must not offer users incentives or withhold features in order to get people to agree to tracking on iOS 14 now that its App Tracking Transparency feature is live.

From MacRumors:

Apple says that it will ban and reject apps on the App Store that attempt to offer users monetary incentives to enable tracking with ATT, one of many measures the company is taking to ensure developers follow through with the new framework.

As the report notes, Apple has updated its Human Interface Guidelines to help developers comply with the new feature. The new guidance has a stark warning regarding offering users incentives to opt-in:

App tracking is a sensitive issue. In some cases, it might make sense to display custom messaging that clearly describes the benefits of tracking.Never precede the system-provided alert with custom messaging that could confuse or mislead people. People sometimes tap quickly to dismiss alerts without reading them. A custom messaging screen that takes advantage of such behaviors to influence choices will lead to rejection by App Store Review.There are several prohibited custom-messaging designs that will cause rejection. Some examples are offering incentives, displaying a screen that looks like a request, displaying an image of the alert, and annotating the screen behind the alert (shown below).Don't offer incentives for granting the request. You can't offer people compensation for granting their permission, and you can't withhold functionality or content or make your app unusable until people allow you to track them.

Some apps might already have fallen foul of this, one example including this app from Sky, Sky Sports Scores:

Sky Bet

Sky Bet (Image credit: Oliver Haslam)

It is unclear whether the listed benefits could be considered an "incentive", but it seems to have passed Apple's App Store review process.

Are you going to be opting-in to tracking? Or are you happy with the new ATT changes? Take part in our poll!

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9