Apple’s Tracking Transparency Doesn’t Reduce Third Party Tracking, New Study Reveals

The latest version of Apple’s smartphone operating system featured a new app tracking transparency protocol that has caused a bit of a furor in the world of advertising. Third party tracking has been a crucial component in advertising because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up allowing brands to create targeted ads, and Apple’s new transparency measures have made it somewhat difficult for these companies to get the kind of data that they need.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that a recent study conducted by the Lockdown Privacy app has suggested that this transparency feature is actually not all that effective at stopping apps from taking part in third party tracking and the like. The way that this feature works is that you are asked if you want an app to be able to track you, and if you choose “No” then ostensibly these apps should not be able to track you at all.

However, this study suggests that even if you choose not to let apps track you suffice it to say that they will still be able to get a fair amount of data regarding your personal habits and the like. This research involved testing out some of the top ranked apps out there including Yelp, Telegram, GrubHub, Starbucks, Subway Surfers, Cash App and Door Dash. These apps fulfill a wide range of services, and analyzing their tracking methodology has ended up revealing quite a bit.

For one thing, the number of attempts that these apps made to try to obtain third party data remained more or less the same, with them becoming only slightly lower if you chose the Do Not Track option. What’s more is that the amount of data that they were able to collect wasn’t decreased in any major capacity either with all things having been considered and taken into account, and that is something that might give a few iOS users pause before they decide to take advantage of this new and seemingly revolutionary feature.

There’s quite a bit of data that apps like these can still access if they want to. That includes things like your battery levels, your screen brightness settings as well as how many times you end up restarting your device. On top of all of that, apps can also freely access any and all accessibility settings that you may be using on your phone which makes people with disabilities disproportionately more likely to get tracked, and there are a bunch of other settings that apps are informed about as well.

What all of this basically means is that Apple may very well be misleading people when it says that it can stop things like third party tracking. However, it should also be noted that this is only part of the information that apps were able to get access to previously, so toggling this setting on would be at least somewhat beneficial for the vast majority of users that are currently out there. Still, the data that continues to be provided is not exactly secure and private which might be of some concern to those that value their online privacy above all else.

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