March 2021 update: Apple has finally pushed iOS version 14.5.
Following outcry from Facebook, app developers, and mobile marketers, Apple has postponed a requirement for opt-in ad tracking across iOS devices until “early next year.” Translation: Mobile marketers can stop freaking out … for now.
What’s Going On?
Back in June, Apple announced that iOS 14 would make the IDFA opt-in for all apps – a 180-degree turn from the current opt-out environment on Apple devices. With the launch of iOS 14 scheduled for September, that gave the mobile advertising industry only three months to prepare for a foundational shift in how the ecosystem works.
Understandably, marketers freaked. Predictably, Facebook complained. And surprisingly, Apple listened.
Here’s the statement from Apple announcing the delay:
“In addition, on iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14, apps will be required to receive user permission to track users across apps or websites owned by other companies, or to access the device’s advertising identifier. We are committed to ensuring users can choose whether or not they allow an app to track them. To give developers time to make necessary changes, apps will be required to obtain permission to track users starting early next year. More information, including an update to the App Store Review Guidelines, will follow this fall.”
The rest of iOS 14 is expected to release in September as originally planned.
What Does It Mean?
Apple rarely backtracks when it comes to privacy, so this is kind of a big deal. It could signal a more community-conscious and consultation-focused Apple … or it could simply be a signal that the company underestimated the blowback of the latest changes.
Make no mistake, the new IDFA restrictions and App Tracking Transparency framework are still coming. No word on when that will be in 2021, but expect more information to come out this fall.
What’s the Industry Saying?
We did a roundup of how attribution companies were responding to Apple’s original bombshell in our previous article on iOS 14. Here’s what the top players are saying about this news:
- Announcing: SKAdNetwork Simulation Dashboard (no direct response to the delay as of publication)
The mobile industry is still set to undergo an evolution on iOS when these changes do take place. Make the most of this time now to prepare with your affiliates, mobile measurement partners, and advertising platforms by understanding whether you use IDFA today and what the impact will be from losing access to it. Most TUNE customers do not use IDFA today and should see little direct impact from this change.
Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.