Ios 14.5 App Tracking Transparency HeroSource: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

What you need to know

  • Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature is being investigated in Poland.
  • It's over claims Apple may be trying to eliminate competitors for personalized advertising.
  • With iOS 14.5 Apple let users opt-out of third-party tracking across different apps and services.

Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature that debuted in iOS 14 earlier this year is under investigation in Poland.

Poland's Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) said on Monday:

When we use mobile devices, we very often disclose information about our online activity, including our personal data, which are then used to present us with personalised advertisements. Information about us may be collected – and shared with third parties – by developers of both applications and operating systems. The President of UOKiK has initiated an investigation concerning the change in rules of the Privacy Policy and Personal Data Processing Policy on Apple devices. This applies to all products running iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, tvOS 14.5 and their later versions.

The review will look at the changes made so that users have to opt-in to tracking, which it says in practice means "that Apple has significantly reduced the ability of third-party apps to obtain personal data on iOS in order to send personalised ads." The report notes that this does not mean users' information is no longer being collected and that they don't receive personalized ads. It also says that there is some doubt "as to whether the rules established by Apple were not designed to promote their own advertising service, Apple Search Ads, which could be a violation of competition principles."

"The actions of digital giants are a challenge for antitrust authorities all around the world. During the course of our investigation, we want to examine whether Apple's actions may be aimed at eliminating competitors in the market for personalised advertising services, the objective being to better sell their own service," said Tomasz Chróstny, UOKiK president. "We will investigate whether this is a case of exclusionary abuse of market power."

The investigation pertains to all Apple devices running iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5 and beyond, including Apple's iPhone 12 and iPhone 13, the company's best iPhone to date.