A person using iphone

Have you ever looked up a product on the internet and later noticed ads for the exact item all across your browser and social networking apps? Well, it's not a coincidence. Your apps are tracking your data—often without your direct knowledge or consent.

In April 2021, Apple took a big leap when it announced that its iOS 14.5 software update would include an App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature. As part of the upgrade, all applications must display a pop-up to iOS users asking permission to track their behaviour across other applications and websites.

Why is Apple's new privacy policy a huge deal?

The new policy gives you complete control over which applications can collect and use your personal information. Without privacy protocols, data collected from your smartphone can be used to gain deep insights into your purchasing preferences. Whenever you search for a movie ticket or look up prices for a vacation rental, you create valuable data that helps apps understand your online habits.

Apple assigns its iOS users a unique device identifier called the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). This identifier is perhaps the only reliable way advertisers can track your data and measure how you respond to personalised advertisements. But thanks to Apple's new policy, a large population has the power to disable the IDFA and opt out of privacy-invading practices. And they can still enjoy all the app's capabilities regardless of whether they agree to be tracked.