Apple Shares New ‘Tracked’ Ad With Humorous Real-World Analogy of App Tracking Transparency

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Apple today shared a new privacy-focused ad on its YouTube channel, highlighting App Tracking Transparency on the iPhone.

In the spot, a man orders a coffee, and the barista follows him out as he gets in a cab, providing his date of birth to the cab driver. The cab driver and the barista follow him throughout his day, keeping track of his whereabouts and viewing his personal data.

Everyone he interacts with follows him, and at the end of the day, he has a whole crowd of people monitoring his behavior. The ‌iPhone‌ comes to the rescue with App Tracking Transparency, with the ad designed to highlight the everyday app tracking that ATT gives users control over.

Apple says that on average, each app includes six tracking mechanisms from other companies, which are designed to collect data and personal information from people. The data that trackers collect is aggregated and monetized, and most people aren’t even fully aware of the extent of what’s known about them.

Apple’s ad sheds light on the kind of behind-the-scenes tracking that happens in apps, and it points out App Tracking Transparency as a method to provide people with the tools to protect their information.

This is a topic that Apple has visited a few times before, sharing an App Tracking Transparency video and a “Day in the Life of Your Data” report, which details how third-party companies can track user data across websites and apps.

The ad industry has fought against App Tracking Transparency because it can cut into the revenue that comes from the personalized ads delivered because of tracking, but Apple says this kind of tracking should be transparent. Apple is not opposed to advertising, but believes it can be done in a less invasive manner.

Implemented in iOS 14.5, App Tracking Transparency applies to all developers. Apps must now ask permission before tracking you, including Apple’s own apps. Apple says that its advertising platform does not track you, nor do its own apps.

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