One iOS 14’s headline features — in that it is making headlines by pissing off advertisers — is “App Tracking Transparency,” a setting that lets users opt out of all tracking, including the data an app collects when you’re not using it (much to the chagrin of advertising platforms like Google and Facebook).
We previously covered how iOS 14’s App Tracking Transparency increases user privacy, but the recent iOS 14.5 update makes the feature even better, adding new settings that let you change tracking permissions for every app you’ve installed.
How to use App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14.5
You need to update to iOS 14.5 (or iPadOS 14.5) to use the new App Tracking Transparency settings, but once the update is installed, the feature is turned on by default. You’ll notice it take effect whenever you install a new app — a pop-up notification will now ask if you want to let the app track you.
You can also review which apps are allowed to track you and change their permissions at any time in the iOS settings app:
- Go to Settings > Privacy > Tracking.
- Apps that request tracking permissions are listed under “Allow Apps to Request to Track.”
- Tap one of the apps from the list to allow or restrict tracking permissions.
If you’d rather turn off tracking for all iOS apps, you can disable “Allow Apps to Request to Track” under Settings > Privacy > Tracking. This setting will also automatically apply to any new apps you download in the future.
Note that disabling tracking will affect how an app works, and there’s a chance doing so could break features in some apps, while others may refuse to work at all. Generally, however, the most common effect is that you’ll see less relevant ads — something an app will warn you of if you disable its tracking permissions. You can always restore tracking permissions if that proves to be an issue for you (and you don’t mind being tracked). And if an app isn’t working with tracking disabled and you still don’t want to be tracked, you can always delete that app.
iOS 14.5’s App Tracking Transparency isn’t the only privacy-focused feature Apple has recently rolled out to its users. The App Store now tells you what kinds of data iOS apps track before you download them, and the latest versions of Safari prioritise anonymity and make you difficult to track.