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Apple Is Changing the Way IDFA Tracking Works

Apple’s most recent WWDC sent some expected shockwaves through the ad tech industry. Many industry pundits had been making a number of predictions since 2019 ranging from Apple removing the IDFA (ID for Advertisers) altogether to applying limitations around how it’s collected. The recent changes offer the best of both worlds; the survival of a strong identifier in the IDFA and bringing opt-in front and centre to the app level for each app.


How it was: 

Since iOS 10, users had the ability to Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) at the device level. This was done by toggling the feature within the Settings app.

By toggling this feature, the operating system would strip out the IDFA and a series of zeros would appear within the ad tech eco system.


How it will be:

There is still some time until the final details are ironed out. Apple uses this Beta period to let developers test the new operating system and provide feedback. However, most of the details have been shared:

  • The user must have the “Allow requests to opt-in” toggle set to “On” in Settings. This setting is turned on by default unless the device is shared. Additionally, if a user had LAT enabled previously, this toggle will be set to “off” when they upgrade to iOS 14.
  • The user must affirmatively opt-in via the in-app prompt for each app.The other major announcement that advertisers were interested in hearing about was the new limits on location data collection. Over the years, Apple has limited how location data was collected and given more power to the user from an opt in perspective. More recently, iOS started offering users the option to share location data in the background or in the foreground.


What’s changing: 

Apple will now offer users the ability to share approximate location data as opposed to precise location data. Apple has divided the world into a number of regions, each approximately 10 square miles in size. When a user selects approximate location data sharing, one of these regions will be shared instead of a latitude/longitude.


What we’re doing: 

We expect a larger opt-out volume than we saw during iOS 10 through 14, which will lead to a lower volume of user data. Our focus at Native Touch is:

  • To continue to focus on high quality publishers and SDK partnerships where the publisher is providing value to the user in exchange for their opt-in.
  • Work with publishers that have a clear value proposition around precise location data versus those who can make do with approximate location data.
  • Source more data partners to offset the decline in available data.Although scale is the number one requirement in the ad tech ecosystem, we believe that lower volume of high quality data combined with strong data engineering expertise will be the longterm solution.