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'Play by the rules': Apple warns developers over new anti-tracking policy in iOS 14

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What you need to know

  • Apple's Craig Federighi has warned developers that if they don't play by the rules of Apple's new anti-tracking policy in iOS 14 they will have their apps removed from the App Store.

Apple's head of software engineering, Craig Federighi, has warned developers that if they don't "play by the rules" when it comes to upcoming anti-tracking features in iOS 14 their apps will be booted from the App Store.

From The Telegraph:

Developers will be kicked off Apple's App Store if they fail to "play by the rules" of the iPhone's new anti-tracking policy, Apple's head of software has said. Craig Federighi, one of Apple boss Tim Cook's top lieutenants, issued the warning as Apple prepares to introduce an anti-tracking function in its iOS 14 software that advertisers fear will lead to a sharp drop in mobile revenues.

As the report notes, Apple's upcoming software privacy feature, which will mean advertisers have to ask for permission to use a unique digital identifier to track users, has been met with staunch criticism by the likes of Facebook, who claim it could destroy their advertising business, or see it massively decrease in effectiveness.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Federighi said all apps would have to abide by the new rules, and that there would be "policy enforcement". As with all App Store rules, that could mean that breaching them are grounds to get your app booted from the store:

"There will be policy enforcement. Any form or mechanism of tracking a user for advertising or for providing information to data brokers will have to ask for permissions. Failure to do so is a violation of App Store policy… and are grounds for having an app removed."

The new measures were announced earlier this year, but have been delayed to allow developers to make the necessary adjustments to their software, not because of industry pushback as had been previously reported.

Federighi also noted that "the largest players understand they have to play by the rules here," and that whilst there was "spirited debate" about the plans, he believed they would work to find a solution.

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.