Apple recently launched its highly anticipated products App tracking transparency feature With iOS 14.5, users can choose whether apps track their activity for targeted advertising. For the most part, users seem happy to leave app tracking disabled. Only 4% of iPhone users in the US have opted for app tracking after their device has been updated, according to the latest data from Verizon’s own analytics company excitement.
Globally, that number climbs to 12%, a healthy increase, but it’s still not good news for companies like Facebook that sell targeting to advertisers by sucking up user data. On iOS 14.5, when a user has app tracking requirements enabled, each time they download or update an app, they must ask for permission before they can track their activity. And it is clear that most of the users say, “No.”
Users who want to completely deactivate tracking without denying the permissions for each app individually can activate the “Allow apps to request track” option in the iPhone’s privacy settings. Since the April 26 update, Flurry’s data shows that an average of 3% of US iOS users and 5% of international iOS users have restricted app tracking.
Flurry based its findings on a sample size of 2.5 million active mobile users per day using iOS 14.5 in the US and a sample size of 5.3 million such users worldwide. According to the company, the analytics tool is installed in more than 1 million mobile applications and collects data from around 2 billion devices per month.
Facebook started as a vocal opponent of Apple’s new feature a widespread fear campaign Convincing users that these privacy measures are indeed a bad thing. Facebook has run several full-page ads arguing that Apple’s feature will destroy small businesses that rely on its ad targeting services, and warns that many free websites may need to start charging users for subscriptions or in-app purchases to deliver. Other tech giants like it Snapchat, Google and Twitter also said that if the majority of users abandon app tracking, it will likely affect their bottom line.
Granted, this data is just our first look at user response. iOS 14.5 has only been available for a little less than two weeks, and as we get more time, we’ll likely get a better understanding of the average number of users signing up and signing out for app tracking. However, one thing is crystal clear: people value their privacy. And if that means missing out on a few personalized ads, a lot of people seem happy to make that sacrifice.