Apple has delayed a much anticipated change to its forthcoming iOS 14 operating system, that would give iPhone app users the option to decline ad tracking.

With iOS 14 expected to arrive in the coming weeks, Apple had been seeking to require apps to seek additional permission from users before tracking them across other apps and websites.

But now Apple has confirmed it will delay the implementation of new privacy controls, after pushback from both Facebook and advertising associations.

2021 arrival

Late last month, Facebook had warned that while Apple’s new privacy rules would spare its own apps, including WhatsApp and Instagram, it would impact smaller developers.

Apple’s move had also not gone down well with advertisers.

In July a group of European digital advertising associations criticised Apple for not adhering to an ad-industry system for seeking user consent under European privacy rules.

Apple had revealed at its annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, that with iOS 14, app developers would need to provide more information about the data they collect on users, with Apple displaying a summary of how apps use data such as location or tracking information.

Privacy change

Essentially, apps would be required to show a pop-up screen before they enable a form of tracking commonly needed to show personalised ads.

Apple said that the new feature was aimed at giving users greater transparency over how their information is being used.

Apple now said the privacy controls will not be mandatory for developers until 2021.

“We want to give developers the time they need to make the necessary changes, and as a result, the requirement to use this tracking permission will go into effect early next year,” Apple said in a statement.

The ability to seek user permission will be available to developers before then, but not mandatory, the company said.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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