18 votes

What half of iPhone users don’t know about their privacy

9 comments

  1. [5]
    Diet_Coke
    Link
    I am on Android, this inspired me to check it out too. You can go to Settings > Google > Ads and both opt out of personalized advertisements and reset your advertising ID. This says that you can't...

    I am on Android, this inspired me to check it out too. You can go to Settings > Google > Ads and both opt out of personalized advertisements and reset your advertising ID. This says that you can't opt out on Android but that may be outdated information.

    8 votes
    1. [3]
      onyxleopard
      Link Parent
      Good on Google for that. (I’m very happily surprised.) Which version of Android are you on? Do you know when this was introduced?

      Good on Google for that. (I’m very happily surprised.) Which version of Android are you on? Do you know when this was introduced?

      4 votes
      1. Diet_Coke
        Link Parent
        Not sure when it was introduced, I just downloaded the Android 10 update today so I should be on the most current version. I was also surprised Google gave me the ability to opt out.

        Not sure when it was introduced, I just downloaded the Android 10 update today so I should be on the most current version. I was also surprised Google gave me the ability to opt out.

        1 vote
      2. ducc
        Link Parent
        If it's built into Google settings, it should work on any version of Android.

        If it's built into Google settings, it should work on any version of Android.

        1 vote
    2. dblohm7
      Link Parent
      Unfortunately prior to Android 10, apps can still access other, permanent, unique identifiers on your device.

      Unfortunately prior to Android 10, apps can still access other, permanent, unique identifiers on your device.

      2 votes
  2. [3]
    emdash
    Link
    I'm struggling to think of a good reason why these IDFA's exist. They severely hamper Apple's credibility when it comes to espousing the benefits of privacy. Ideally, Apple would not only...

    I'm struggling to think of a good reason why these IDFA's exist. They severely hamper Apple's credibility when it comes to espousing the benefits of privacy. Ideally, Apple would not only eliminate this but entirely restrict apps from even including third-party tracking scripts and their ilk at all.

    3 votes
    1. onyxleopard
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      They exist because people expect free apps, so ad-funded models for software businesses exist. The fact that Apple defaults this tracking to on is maybe not ideal, but it allows their platform to...

      They exist because people expect free apps, so ad-funded models for software businesses exist. The fact that Apple defaults this tracking to on is maybe not ideal, but it allows their platform to have a critical mass of ad-supported apps (or at least it did so at the launch of the iOS App Store, which was before in-app-purchases was a thing, so maybe this is an artifact of the time).

      I hear a lot of criticism about Apple for things like this where I don’t think people are considering the big picture. Apple picked a default here that favors advertisers over users, but they also give an option to turn this tracking off. They didn’t have to provide that option! Other platforms wouldn’t even think about providing that option. Apple is in the position to provide that option at the cost of making their platform less valuable to advertisers, thus less successful in an app economy where users expect ad-supported apps. If Apple had launched an App Store where app devs couldn’t provide ways to sell anonymized IDs as a way to monetize, every app would be $10+, and you’d have orders of magnitude fewer apps on iOS to begin with. It’s the same reason why javascript in the browser is mostly successful because it allows third parties to run code on site visitors’ machines so that site runners can make money. If this wasn’t possible by default, browsers wouldn’t be nearly as successful as a platform. But what will suck more? Your average user needing to opt-out of some tracking, or being forced to use Android or Chrome because the app/site they want to use isn’t supported on iOS or Safari?

      Some browser vendors (Apple and Mozilla, notably) are trying to scale back on the default tracking surfaces that their browsers allow for, but since they are not the plurality of browsers, it may end up hurting them. If sites stop working on those browsers because ad-supported site runners decide they are not worth supporting (e.g., YouTube) it will suck for a lot of people.

      I think Apple has struck a good balance here. Until we can convince the market that “free” apps/sites that exploit user info just aren’t acceptable, giving users opt-outs is the best default.

      16 votes
    2. ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      At the risk of sounding like a dumb strawman, I can't think of a reason beyond corporate benefit – and since it's there, I can't but think that Apple wants it to be there for the company's...

      At the risk of sounding like a dumb strawman, I can't think of a reason beyond corporate benefit – and since it's there, I can't but think that Apple wants it to be there for the company's benefit, and their privacy-concerned image is at least partly smoke and mirrors.

      Again, dumb strawman at risk, but – Apple has its users in an ever-tighter grip, on many levels: starting with the tightly-controlled apps ecosystem and finishing with the keyboard layout. This kinda grip affords a decent leeway for surreptitious power abuse, and if the users complain, where are they going to go? Getting off the prestige needle isn't easy when you've incorporated it into your identity.

  3. envy
    Link
    On iOS, in settings, turn on "Limit Ad Tracking."

    On iOS, in settings, turn on "Limit Ad Tracking."

    1 vote