WWDC23: What You Need to Know About Apple’s Upcoming Privacy Changes

Josiah Goff

While the Vision Pro headset stole all the headlines at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2023, TUNE was laser-focused on the raft of new privacy and security features — specifically updates to advanced fingerprinting and tracking protection. As Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering said, “We are focused on keeping our users in the driver’s seat when it comes to their data by continuing to provide industry-leading privacy features and the best data security in the world.”

TUNE is committed to adapting to the rapidly evolving privacy landscape and embracing privacy-friendly measurement. We’re eager to dig further into the developer preview resources and learn more about how Apple plans to implement the proposed changes. Right now, we are working on surfacing more information on how Apple categorizes tracking query parameters as user-identifiable and whether they have long-term plans for expanding their Link Tracking Protection (LTP) functionality beyond Private Browsing mode. We will also be keeping an eye out for whether other browsers follow suit.

In the meantime, see below for our summary of the most relevant news from WWDC23 and our advice on how to prepare for changes coming this fall.

Apple is adding Link Tracking Protection (LTP) to Messages, Mail, and Safari Private Browsing. Here is the exact language from the announcement article:

“Some websites add extra information to their URLs in order to track users across other websites. Now this information will be removed from the links users share in Messages and Mail, and the links will still work as expected. This information will also be removed from links in Safari Private Browsing.”

Essentially, LTP removes tracking query parameters as part of browser navigation and when copying a link. The changes will apply automatically to links shared through Messages, Mail, and while the user has Private Browsing enabled in Safari.

These new tracking protection features from Apple are a significant step forward in protecting user privacy. They will make it more difficult for websites and apps to track users across the web, and will help give users more control over their privacy.

What You Can Do Right Now to Prepare for These Changes

There’s still a lot we don’t know about how these changes will be implemented. Based on the information available to us as of the time of writing, here are some ideas on how TUNE customers could adapt to the proposed changes:

Promo Codes

Promo codes are a method for attributing conversions to a partner without requiring a tracking link to be clicked by the end user. Using promo codes, TUNE customers can still track the success of their campaigns while respecting users who have tracking protection features enabled.

Tiny URLs

Tiny URLs offer a method to shorten URLs with attribution information stored within TUNE, removing the need for URL parameters conceal additional tracking parameters. We believe that this should help adapt to the automatic parameter removal. Caveat: We will be able to assert this with more confidence once we’ve had the opportunity to run tests with the developer preview.

Final Thoughts

These privacy updates are expected to roll out to users as part of iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma releases in Fall 2023. TUNE is actively monitoring the situation, and we are always striving to stay ahead of the curve to ensure the best possible experience for our customers.

Josiah Goff

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