Apple users supportive of privacy measures, but open to ad tracking

Posted:
in iOS edited January 31
Apple users are generally supportive of Apple's stance on privacy, but a new survey claims most are apparently fine with the idea of allowing tracking if they didn't have to pay for content or features.




One of the most ardent supporters of user privacy, Apple's stance on the subject is well known to be one in favor of keeping user data as untrackable as possible. CEO Tim Cook framed it as "one of the top issues of the century" in an interview on Friday, with Apple working to maintain user privacy in as many different ways as possible.

The upcoming App Tracking transparency feature, which will give users more of an opportunity to opt out of ad tracking, builds on top of other initiatives already undertaken by the company. This has included the use of encryption, minimizing the amount of user data that needs to be used and anonymizing where possible, and the so-called App Store "nutrition labels."

In a survey of more than 2,000 iPhone and iPad owners in the United States by SellCell, 72% of users were aware of Apple's privacy changes in iOS and iPadOS updates. Approximately 13% claimed they knew the changes "extremely well," while 29% considered they knew the changes "very well," 21% said "moderately well," 9% said "slightly well," and 28% said "not well at all."

The group also expressed concern for the practices of website and app tracking, with 65% saying they were "extremely" or "very concerned." Only 14% said they weren't concerned at all by tracking.

In questions that relate to the upcoming anti-ad tracking features, 35% said they would be in favor of tracking to allow personalized advertisements based on their interests, while 65% would rather be served with generic ads.

Tracking would be allowed by 59% of users if that is how the app delivered content relevant to the user. Furthermore, 74% would opt in for tracking if it "means not having to pay for content or features that are currently free."

The percentage drops to 48% that would opt in if it meant "not losing access to content or features" they currently enjoy using.

The identity of the app seems to be less of a factor for opting in, as only 39% said they would if the app was "a familiar one like Facebook or Instagram." Furthermore, 43% would opt in if the app was "upfront about the data collected and their applications," while 57% disagreed.

The App Privacy addition to the App Store may have an impact in whether users download an app, as 57% indicated they would't download apps that collect "too much personal information like location or financial info."

As for Apple's approach with the new privacy policies, 65% agree with the changes, 12% were not sure what to make of them, and 23% thought Apple was "taking it too far."

The survey's results suggest that, while users are keen on retaining their privacy from online firms tracking their Internet and app activities, it may be enough of a trade-off to allow them to keep their favorite features of apps active.

The trade-off may be a small comfort to apps and online services that could be negatively affected by the new policies. For example, Bumble's IPO filing in January mentioned that its marketing expenditure could rise if users adopt the new measures.

Meanwhile Facebook has threatened to file an antitrust lawsuit over App Store policies and opt-in ad tracking changes, as a potential escalation against Apple's implementation of the features.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,766member
    Ad tracking leads to the “echo chamber” and societal division. It allows smaller, factionalized interests to target a more susceptible (gullible) audience. Not a problem for little blue pill ads, but anything political poses a hazard.
    edited January 31 badmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 13
    Apple's stance on the subject is well known to be one in favor of keeping user data as untrackable as possible.”

    I’m not sure that’s correct. Their CEO is on record as stating that they simply want to give users the choice to have their data tracked or not. That’s precisely what the new opt-in prompts are designed to do. 

    Apple doesn’t care either way. Just as long as the user has the choice. That’s all. 
  • Reply 3 of 13
    mr lizard said:
    “Apple's stance on the subject is well known to be one in favor of keeping user data as untrackable as possible.”

    I’m not sure that’s correct. Their CEO is on record as stating that they simply want to give users the choice to have their data tracked or not. That’s precisely what the new opt-in prompts are designed to do. 

    Apple doesn’t care either way. Just as long as the user has the choice. That’s all. 
    I wouldn’t go that far.  Sure Apple is allowing a choice in this instance (for now) but they still work behind the scenes to make tracking more difficult like preventing advertisers from fingerprinting your device, blocking 3rd party cookies etc. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    And yet, iOS still does not support DNS over TLS or DNS over HTTPS.  Why?

    Windows 10 now supports secure DNS (even if it’s only DNS over HTTPS).

    Secure DNS as well as restoring the option for full device and cloud backup encryption would be a good start.

    Adding an option to force emails to be encrypted would be great. Say a Mail+ service that simplifies and makes secure email a reality for all iOS ans macOS users.  Maybe even build in some message retention features like automatic document deletion after a period of time.

    Maybe add an option in Messages so that messages would self destruct after being read or after a specified amount of time?

    How about an assurance that NO records of message traffic are stored by Apple for any reason?

    Just a few real world options that would make real contributions to user privacy.
    jony0
  • Reply 5 of 13
    And yet, iOS still does not support DNS over TLS or DNS over HTTPS.  Why?

    I believe both were was added in iOS 14. 
    dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 790member
    Do I consent to ad tracking?
    No
    Does any sentient being consent to ad tracking?
    No

    I would like to see the data behind this. 

    Advertising- just a form of propaganda - is far to invasive and for too pervasive.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    This Apple user is not open to the idea of tracking in exchange for “free” stuff. It also bugs me that it’s become irritatingly difficult to find good non “free” apps
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,805member
    davgreg said:
    Do I consent to ad tracking?
    No
    Does any sentient being consent to ad tracking?
    No

    I would like to see the data behind this. 

    Advertising- just a form of propaganda - is far to invasive and for too pervasive.
    Remember back when you were a young child and let your parents know what it was you wanted for a toy or game?
    How did you or your parents know about them? Possibly TV commercials or an ad on the back of a comic book? ;)
    edited February 1
  • Reply 9 of 13
    And yet, iOS still does not support DNS over TLS or DNS over HTTPS.  Why?

    Windows 10 now supports secure DNS (even if it’s only DNS over HTTPS).

    Secure DNS as well as restoring the option for full device and cloud backup encryption would be a good start.

    Adding an option to force emails to be encrypted would be great. Say a Mail+ service that simplifies and makes secure email a reality for all iOS ans macOS users.  Maybe even build in some message retention features like automatic document deletion after a period of time.

    Maybe add an option in Messages so that messages would self destruct after being read or after a specified amount of time?

    How about an assurance that NO records of message traffic are stored by Apple for any reason?

    Just a few real world options that would make real contributions to user privacy.
    Apple devices, if secured with an unlock code, are full device encrypted.  

    Cloud backup encryption is there, and has not changed.  But cloud backup encryption has ALWAYS stored a set of keys with Apple, that Apple will provide to law enforcement with a valid search warrant.  If you only have one Apple device and Apple does not store key, then you wouldn't be able to restore the backup. (I know there are ways to avoid this, but non-technical people would not understand it and would scream bloody murder if they could not restore from their backup if they lost their cloud backup key!)

    See this Apple support document:  iCloud security overview
    muthuk_vanalingamjony0
  • Reply 10 of 13

    dee_dee said:
    And yet, iOS still does not support DNS over TLS or DNS over HTTPS.  Why?

    I believe both were was added in iOS 14. 
    Yep:  https://www.zdnet.com/article/apple-adds-support-for-encrypted-dns-doh-and-dot/

  • Reply 11 of 13
    gatorguy said:
    davgreg said:
    Do I consent to ad tracking?
    No
    Does any sentient being consent to ad tracking?
    No

    I would like to see the data behind this. 

    Advertising- just a form of propaganda - is far to invasive and for too pervasive.
    Remember back when you were a young child and let your parents know what it was you wanted for a toy or game?
    How did you or your parents know about them? Possibly TV commercials or an ad on the back of a comic book? ;)
    And those adds did NO tracking, especially NO targeted tracking!
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 12 of 13
    jdwjdw Posts: 931member
    This article says basically what I said previously (under the "top issues of the century" article) in that people don't like tracking until they hear they might get charged, and then they are willing to accept it.

    With the pandemic affecting all our pocketbooks, now more than ever people care about being frugal more than the security of their data.  We want protections, but we want "cheap" or "free" too.  It will be interesting to see how Apple's move affects the use of social media, especially with all the warning badges and censorship taking place, making a large number of Americans reevaluate their need for FaceBook or Twitter.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,895member
    First, I would not trust these surveys, If anything, we should have learn that survey can be structed to provide an answer you are looking to tell.

    I do not mind being advertise to, however, I do mind an advertisers knowing what I am doing, where I shop, what I buy and do not buy, what other interested I have. There is no good reason for them to know that level of specific information. Just because I like working on cars does not mean car stuff advertisers need to know I also like doing woodworking and vise versa. However, seeing car enthusiast stuff on a car related website is perfectly fine but there is no reason to see woodworking stuff on my car interest stuff.  

    In the past you looked at topic specific magazine and those mag only had advertising specific to that Mag and maybe a few general things. No did you lots of ads for things that had nothing to do with what you were reading. As an example why do I see women's bathing suit add on Appleinsider, and hardly see ads for thing able Apple related productions and services.

    The flip side of this, the ad distribution companies like google get to decide which ads you see they are become the moral authority on what they deem acceptable for you to see. There is things I have interest in and I visit those specific website, so the ad tracking companies have to know I visited those website but they obviously do not want ads for those companies being present to me. I know those companies do advertise, since they do show up in other places.

    Yes it is bad for these companies to track you, it is also bad these companies know what you are doing and making decisions on what you will see in the way of ads or other related information.
    watto_cobra
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