Facebook and Snapchat are still tracking iOS users who have opted out

Facebook and Snapchat are still tracking iOS users who have opted out

Earlier this year, Apple introduced its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature as part of iOS 14.5. The company first announced this privacy-focused addition last year, during WWDC20. ATT gives users the option to decide whether they want apps to track them across other apps and websites for tailored advertisements. By toggling it off, app developers aren’t allowed to request from users to turn it on or offer them perks for doing so. However, a report shares that services like Facebook and Snapchat are still tracking iOS users who have opted out, thanks to a loophole in Apple’s guidelines.

As the Financial Times reports, some services like Facebook and Snapchat have found creative ways to track iPhone users. The loophole in Apple’s guidelines allows developers to do so, even if users disable tracking in settings. The report states that it’s “an unacknowledged shift that lets companies follow a much looser interpretation of its controversial privacy policy.” The guidelines mention that app developers “may not derive data from a device for the purpose of uniquely identifying it,” so some developers are collecting anonymized signals of groups of users, rather than personal, identifying data. Then these companies sell the groups’ data to advertisers — which display tailored ads to the tracked groups.

Snapchat has informed its investors that it’s selling the data of 306 million users to advertisers. In the meantime, Facebook is working on a multiyear effort to track users in an anonymized way, following Apple’s release of ATT few months ago. So, even if you have tracking denied in your iPhone settings, there’s a high chance that a few of the apps you use are still tracking you in one way or another — while complying with Apple’s guidelines.

Do you allow apps to track you to get more relevant, tailored ads? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Mahmoud Itani
Mahmoud Itani

Mahmoud is an Istanbul-based Beiruti who has always sought freedom through writing. His hobbies include keeping up with tech news, writing articles about Apple devices & services, crocheting, meditating, and composing poetry. You’ll likely find him jogging at a park, swimming in open water, brainstorming at a coffeehouse, or merely lost in nature. He can be reached via [email protected] or the provided social links.