Privacy is on everyone’s mind these days. Last spring, iOS 14.5 introduced a new privacy feature called App Tracking Transparency that may have made its users happier, but some other companies didn’t like Apple, especially Facebook. The feature is still available in iOS 15, along with new privacy features.
Many apps don’t just track your movements inside the app, but they track your movements outside the app, in other words, where you go after exiting the app. This is why you see ads on Facebook and other apps for products that you just looked at on Amazon or other sites.
Prior to 14.5, you could turn off tracking for all your apps by going to Settings> Privacy> Tracking and disabling “Allow apps to request tracking”. The version that first appeared in iOS 14.5 allows you to be more specific. For starters, when you install a new app, you don’t have to do anything; you are automatically asked if you want the new app to follow you.
If you want to see which apps have requested permission to track and possibly change their tracking settings, you can just go to that same tracking page. There you can give or revoke this authorization. So:
- Go to your iPhone settings and select Privacy> Tracking.
- Under “Allow apps to request to follow,” you will now see a list of specific apps that have requested this permission. You can allow or revoke this permission for each specific application.
And you can always use “Allow apps to ask to follow” to turn off the permission for all of your current (and future) applications.
(Note: At first, the transparency feature of Application Tracking seemed to behave badly for some people; it was either unresponsive or the toggle in Tracking was greyed out. On May 3, Apple released Update 14.5.1 , which was supposed to solve the problem. 9to5Mac, the fix did not work for some people; however, at least one staff member at The edge reported that his toggle was no longer greyed out. No such issues have been reported recently.)
Update April 27 at 9:20 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to add a note on issues with the new functionality.
Update May 10, 2:50 p.m. ET: The note on issues with the new functionality has been updated.
Update October 13 at 5:20 p.m. ET: This article has been updated to recognize that iOS 15 has shipped.