iPhone: more and more users deactivate the anti-tracking feature

iOS bug

In May 2021, the online advertising world was panicking. Apple rolled out a new feature with iOS 14.5 update: App Tracking Transparency (which we translate as anti-tracking tool). This is a feature enabled by default that prevents site and application publishers from tracking user activity outside of their respective services. From this date, iPhone owners saw a message appear inviting them to accept, or not, to be tracked for advertising reasons.

This obviously did not please large groups who live precisely from advertising and marketing revenues. Because, even if iPhone owners continue to see ads, they are no longer targeted and make much less money. Facebook reacted violently against this function. And with good reason, since, according to some estimates, the Meta group’s revenues have fallen by 11.8 billion euros because of App Tracking Transparency.

iPhone: more and more users deactivate the anti-tracking feature


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However, this might only be temporary. Indeed, a study published in the United States by the company Adjust affirms that the number of users accepting advertising tracking is increasing. The percentage was only 16% in May 2021. They are now 25%. 9 more points in one year is a great progression. The study also specifies that, depending on the type of applications, the percentage may be higher. This is particularly the case with players who are more willing to be subject to targeted advertising. They are 30%. And in very rare cases, it can go up to 75% among those who play very popular games.

Two reasons explain this trend. First, consumers are becoming increasingly aware that they will be exposed to advertising, whether they are tracked or not. Under these conditions, it is more interesting that the ads are useful. Next, Apple allows the service provider to explain why they want to track consumer activity. A simple sentence appears in the notification. This would therefore de-demonize advertising.

If this trend continues, the impact of App Tracking Transparency could be less strong than we expect. But it will certainly remain very high. However, it is not this tool that scares advertisers, but two other functions recently launched by Apple: Hide My Mail, which is in use to hide a consumer’s email address, and Private Relay, which hides the IP address (and therefore the origin of the user). These are two functions available for Apple iCloud subscribers. But, if extended to all iPhone owners, they could have an equally big impact. However, we will discover more about this soon.

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