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New iOS update for iPhone will offer 'app tracking transparency'

Apple Redesigned Macs
Posted at 1:37 PM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 13:37:28-04

A new iPhone software update called iOS 14.5 is coming next week.

It includes a new privacy option called "app tracking transparency," which allows users to decide every time they open an app if they want to allow their phone to share information with that app.

If you do opt out, for example with Facebook, you'll notice less personalized ads.

“What gets people agitated is the fact that this data is being shared between apps and websites and sometimes it's disconcerting to see a very relevant ad come up somewhere where you may not necessarily expect it to come up,” said Brian Linder, a threat prevention expert at Check Point Software.

Linder says that doesn't mean you'll see fewer ads, just fewer ads tailored to whatever it is you're clicking on.

He sees this update as an upside for consumers, but he also makes a valid point about sharing information.

“I find it somewhat humorous that we're worrying about targeted advertising, when most of us are oversharing on so many different areas of the “free internet” that this seems to pale in comparison compared to that,” said Linder.

This new feature does not deal with location-based services on your phone: maps, navigation, food delivery or ride sharing. Those obviously have value in sharing your location only while you're using the app.

Some other apps were already supporting the option of allowing people to decide to share their information.

“They know Initially it was believed that it would actually collapse, the advertising business model where everybody would simply opt out of everything. That hasn't turned out to be true,” said Linder.

And about 60% of people opted out, according to Check Point. So about 40% don't necessarily mind the targeted ads.

Bottom line, Check Point recommends you always take advantage of these software updates, because they include security fixes to better protect your information.

And even more concerning than targeted ads are text messages from unknown people with links. Never click on those.