When the Cupertino-based firm confirmed that the much-anticipated iOS 14 privacy feature was to be postponed, many fans of its products have been disappointed greatly. The move means that commercial interest arguably won over users’ privacy, and that’s not what people expected from Apple.
Apple’s iOS Privacy Push
Apple’s serious privacy push started in September of 2019 when iOS 13 was released with tough measures to prevent user tracking and data abuse. Companies such as Facebook and Google were not happy with the decision back then, but Apple implemented it anyway.
There was no stopping for the tech giant this year either when it announced that iOS 14 was going to push its feature to the limit. Users would now have the option to decide to opt-out to tracking across services; something most people do not even know is happening in the background as they use their device.
The plan was that in iOS 14, users would receive a notification when they are being tracked, and would have to opt-in or out.
Apple’s iOS 14 Privacy Move Affected Tracking Entities
Of all the entities that complained the most about this strict new policy, Facebook’s voice was the loudest. The move doesn’t just impact Facebook itself, but also its advertisers by making it incredibly difficult to collect iPhone data for advertisers.
Facebook has been complaining about this for months now, and perhaps if other tech companies like Google wouldn’t have kept whining about it, Apple still would have pressed ahead. It is an incredible disappointment for user privacy, though, as people trust Apple with protecting their data.
If apps are easily able to monitor your activities across services in iOS 14, your data is not safe. It is also a shame for Apple that the news of the delay of the anti-tracking feature was announced the same day it released a new ad that states, “Some things shouldn’t be shared. iPhone keeps it that way” and “Privacy. That’s iPhone.”
Fortunately, it is possible to disable tracking on your iPhone, although, most likely, not completely. Head to the settings menu, select ‘Privacy,’ and ‘Advertising,’ and there you’ll find the option to ‘Limit Ad Tracking’ and ‘Reset your Advertising Identifier.’
Apple Will Launch Other Privacy Features
It is incredibly disappointing, but let’s hope it is only a delay and will not end up being canceled. There are a few new exciting privacy features launching in iOS 14, we’ll just have to wait a bit more for this one.
“This delay implies that although Apple is worth over $2 trillion, it still relies on its counterparts to make its business model work,” says Jake Moore, a cybersecurity specialist at ESET. With so much weight on targeted advertising to fund third-party apps, Moore says he’s “not confident privacy will ever win this fight. Weighing up the balance of privacy versus fiscal matters is a tricky deal when investors and shareholders are usually more interested in numbers over ethics.”
The move is clearly a blow to Apple user privacy, but hopefully, the function will be implemented in an iOS 14 update.