Apple has made a major change with iOS 14.5which requires app developers to explicitly ask the app for permission to track the user’s information for personalized ads. Apple’s change should give its customers more privacy and transparency in data collection.

Apple’s app tracking transparency prompt on iOS

Google has confirmed that it will also give Android users the option to turn off ad tracking, but not in the same explicit way as Apple. As of Android 12, developers no longer have access to the user’s advertising ID and return a series of zeros on request.

Currently, Android smartphones have the option “Disable advertising personalization” and this can be found under Settings> Google> Advertising. Still, an app could request an advertising ID and bypass the user’s option as it is used for other analytical purposes. With the new change to Android 12, Google is offering an alternative method of analysis and fraud prevention that doesn’t use the advertising ID, and apps won’t be able to capture the identifier if the user is signed out.

From the end of 2021, if a user declines interest-based advertising or personalized advertising, the advertising ID will no longer be available. Instead of the identifier, you get a sequence of zeros.

Google’s core business is selling ads. So a more transparent option like Apple’s would have more of an impact on the bottom line. If you enable the opt-out option, those who are not aware of the option can still be tracked. Only when a user is informed and aware that the option exists can they log out. On the other hand, Apple’s opt-in method got it Recoil from Facebookwho also sells ads and collects data from its users through the app. Facebook even started a campaign on behalf of small businesses, to convince users to allow tracking.

According to Google’s advertising ID support page, the change will begin in late 2021 on Android 12 devices and early 2022 for all devices that support Google Play services.

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