How to configure App Tracking Transparency in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16

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You know you wanted to tap “Ask App Not to Track” and somehow you clicked “Allow” instead. Here’s how to fix that or change your mind about app tracking transparency at any time in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16.

App Tracking Transparency (ATT) came out in April 2021 and no matter how much fingers are crossed for Mark Zuckerberg, it’s not going away. It also hasn’t been significantly updated since its debut with iOS 14.5, with iOS 16 only slightly rebranding an option for clarity.

However, it’s gotten to the point where Apple really might take it for granted that you’d want ATT turned on. Apple has taken some steps in this direction, but unless you take specific steps, you still have a choice by default.

And you’ll be prompted to make that choice by every app you use.

Or rather, any app you use whose developers haven’t yet moved on to Apple’s favorite advertising methods. ATT was introduced for us, but at the same time Apple created SKAdNetwork for advertisers.

When asked if you want to allow tracking, you’re actually asking if you’re OK with the developer using Apple’s legacy IDFA system. This allows advertisers to effectively collect data about you, e.g. B. which websites you visit and which ads you click on.

Because the developers could then resell this information to other marketing companies, the same ads would appear everywhere. Do a search for a scarf on Amazon and you might be fed up with scarf ads appearing on every website you ever visit.

The advantage of ATT

For us, the most visible part of ATT is that it prevents this tracking, or at least it does unless you allow apps to. It may be very important for developers and advertisers as Facebook finds out. And find out.

What ATT is really doing is giving us some privacy back. If we were all willing to give up some privacy in exchange for convenience, it’s hard to argue for it now that Apple has made privacy so easy.

We’re now at a point with iOS 16 where tapping “Allow” arguably doesn’t help a developer anymore. At most, it will result in them using the old system and facing dwindling returns as fewer and fewer iOS users allow tracking.

To protect your privacy and persuade developers to switch to an advertising system with a future, you’ll probably always want to tap “Please do not track app”.

And you’re just as sure to make a mistake from time to time.

How to stop an app from tracking you

To be clear, one distinctive feature of Apple’s implementation of ATT is that it gives the developer a chance to explain themselves. However, it doesn’t seem like many developers take the time to create a page explaining why they need tracking, so most of the time go straight to the dialog that asks you about it.

  1. Open settings
  2. Scroll down and tap Privacy & Security
  3. Find the app you want and tap to disable tracking

Note that if you are using iOS 15 or an older iOS 14 that supports ATT, the

Privacy & Security

section of settings is just labeled privacy.

How to allow an app to track you

In most cases you want to prevent the app from tracking you, but in some cases you might have an app that needs to do this for some reason. So allow him to track you.

  1. Open settings
  2. Scroll down and tap Privacy & Security
  3. Find the app you want and tap to allow tracking

It’s exactly the same as disabling tracking, only the last option is different. But there is more to this section of settings.

Notably, not all of your apps will be listed here. It should be a short list, it should get shorter because this is just a list of apps you want to track.

One day we will get to the point where the only app listed is Facebook.

But if you’re curious which of your apps are trying to stick to the old tracking system, find out here.

If you’re still being asked too many times

One of the reasons Apple asks you to choose from every single app by default is because you want to be really aware of your choice. Apple wants to promote privacy, and whether it’s a marketing ploy or a belief in values, it promotes it very well.

And again the number of times you will be asked will decrease. Partly because developers have given up tracking, but also because you should only ever be asked once per app.

So if you were asked and you said allow or not allow, that’s it.

But you can still get prompted enough times that it’s irritating. So Apple has an option, a general toggle that just tells apps you don’t want tracking.

  1. Open settings
  2. Scroll down and tap Privacy & Security
  3. Beat Allow apps to request tracking to turn it off

This does not change your previous selection. If you said that this app can track you but the other one can’t, that remains the case. And you can still change your mind by following the steps above.

But it will tell any other app that wants to track you that you’ve already said no.

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