Apple to Launch New App Usage Tracking Tools for Developers to Balance User Privacy

Last year, Apple announced that it was phasing out developer access to UDIDs, the unique iOS device identifiers that allowed developers and advertisers to not only track usage of their own content, but also in some cases track users’ movements across apps and browsing sessions. The company earlier this year began rejecting apps that continued to use the UDID rather than implementing unique identifiers that would enhance privacy by remaining unique to the developer’s app. 

The Wall Street Journal now reports that Apple is preparing to release new tools to assist developers with tracking usage of their apps without using the UDID, maintaining user privacy while still making it easy for developers to gather usage data on their apps.

Apple Inc. is planning to release a new way for mobile app developers to track who uses their software, according to people briefed on Apple’s plans, the company’s latest attempt to balance developers’ appetite for targeting data with consumers’ unease over how it is used. 

The new tool, which could be detailed in the coming weeks, aims to better protect user privacy than existing approaches, these people said.

The report notes that Apple has been inconsistent about blocking apps that use the UDID for tracking purposes and that the new tools will provide developers with ways to collect important data anonymously without being linked to the UDID that when combined with data from other apps could be used to identify the specific user of a given device. 

No other details on the tools have yet been revealed, but the company could share more information at next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference.


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