Apple has begun rejecting app updates that do not comply with the app tracking transparency rules that the company enforces as of iOS 14.5, according to a new report from Forbes.
Apps must request permission to access the Advertising Identifier or IDFA of a user’s iPhone to track them across apps for ad targeting purposes, a rule that apps must adhere to when iOS 14.5 launches. The rule also prevents apps from using other solution methods to track users, which is already causing some developers problems.
Several apps have been rejected so far, too Forbes listing of Heetch, Radish Fiction, InnoGames and more. Developers who reject apps receive the following message: “Your app uses algorithmically converted device and usage data to create a unique identifier to track the user,” with the message also showing the data being collected.
Mobile marketing analyst Eric Seufert said that an SDK from mobile measurement company Adjust is incorrect due to the data it collects for fingerprints of the device. Adjust, which is installed in more than 50,000 apps, says it “maximizes the impact” of mobile marketing.
Per a number of developers, Apple has begun rejecting app updates that include the Adjust SDK related to the collection of data used for device fingerprints. – Eric Seufert (@eric_seufert) April 1, 2021
Apple is blocking apps that use fingerprint techniques to collect data for the purpose of creating a profile for a user that allows the user to be tracked even without an advertising identifier. Data collection uses metrics such as software version, time since last update, time since last reboot, charge level, battery status and more to identify individual users.
It is Apple’s position that if a customer has declined the use of IDFA for ad tracking, that user has also rejected other tracking methods. Apple’s App Store rules state that app developers cannot collect data from a device to identify it, and developers are responsible for all tracking code in their apps, including any third-party SDKs they use.
Juster has now updated the SDK to remove code that accesses data such as CPU type, phone memory, charge status and battery level, so that apps that were rejected to use Juster may have their updates green after installing the new Juster SDK.
There’s still no word on when Apple plans to release iOS 14.5, but we’ve had six beta so far, and the software is set to be available to the public sometime this spring. As the App Tracking Transparency rules begin to be enforced for updates, it is possible that Apple is preparing for the launch of the software, so we may see it debut in the near future.