Apple's new labels tell you how an app collects "data used to track you," "data linked to you," and "data not linked to you."
- Apple has launched new information labels that tell users how apps are collecting data about them.
- The new App Store labels tell you how an iPhone app collects "data used to track you," "data linked to you," and "data not linked to you."
- This is part of a two-part launch — early in 2021, Apple plans to launch an extra feature that will mean users have to opt-in to being tracked for advertising purposes.
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Apple rolled out an update to its iOS 14 software on Monday that will let users see, in detail, how iPhone apps are tracking them.
The new feature adds labels to every iOS app in the App Store, telling users about how that app collects their data.
Developers were required to submit all of this data before December 8. Apple says it won't kick apps off its App Store if they haven't complied, but they won't be able to update until they have done so.
The labels break the data into three categories: "data used to track you," "data linked to you," and "data not linked to you."
"Data used to track you" applies to any data that is subsequently being linked to data collected from other places to target advertising.
"Data linked to you" means any data that could be used to identify a user, even if that data is not being actively passed along for targeted advertising purposes - for example, data collected when you set up an account or profile on an app.
"Data not linked to you" are data which Apple says cannot be linked back to a user's identity, such as geolocation or browser history.
These new labels are not the end of Apple's heightened privacy rollout. Early in 2021, the company plans to ask users to give consent to being tracked for advertising purposes by specific apps.
Both features were supposed to be fully released with iOS14 this summer, but Apple delayed the release after developers, including Facebook, complained they would gut ad revenue.
Online privacy non-profit the Mozilla Foundation on Monday praised the upcoming feature, and urged Apple to follow through. "We need to make sure the company stays strong and gives iPhone users this enhanced privacy feature as soon as possible," the foundation wrote, calling for signatories to a petition backing the feature.