Apple iOS 15 privacy updates and what they may mean for app marketers

Anne Freer | September 23, 2021

App Business

This week, Apple released its long-awaited iOS 15 update that introduced several new features to enhance device functionality but also privacy for users.

Among productivity updates such as a new Focus mode to bundle notification to two times a day and FaceTime for web, iOS 15 really stands out for its privacy features. Here’s what they could mean for app developers and mobile advertisers.

  1. Mail Privacy Protection is an optional function that gets rid of tracking images from online marketers in emails. When a user opens an email containing an image, it usually connects to the marketer’s server to fetch the picture which gives the advertisers access to the user IP address. This type of information usually tells advertisers where a user is located and which devices they’re using. Apple now pre-caches these images so IP addresses are randomised to those owned by Apple.
  2. Intelligent Tracking Prevention is an upgraded functionality that blocks web servers from seeing a user’s IP address.
  3. iOS 15 also adds two-factor authentication which may be a bummer for third-party app developers already providing such services as they will be no longer needed.
  4. App developers will also no longer have access to information from copy and paste processes thanks to Secure Paste that prohibits all apps from reading what’s on a clipboard.
  5. Temporary location sharing has been added which means that users can share their location once and never again after a session, unless they agree to do so.
  6. iOS 15 includes some other features that are making it harder for developers or marketers to read IP addresses, including iCloud Private Relay that encrypts data and masks a user’s IP and DNS requests.

While ad tech providers have been working on ways to deliver personalized ads while conforming to Apple’s privacy update, the full effects of these updates on the ad industry remain to be seen.

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