Apple is one of those Companies Known for Privacy and Security. iPhone and MAC users always say they get a clean and simple UI, without any features for tracking you. Is Apple really good with privacy? Especially After the iOS 14 update and the implementation of ATT ( App Tracking Transparency), Apple is Hailed by an average user as the Holy grail of Privacy. Is apple the one true answer for all Privacy concerns? Read more to Find out.
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What is Apple’s ATT?
ATT is a new feature introduced in iOS 14.5, and it requires app developers to have the explicit consent of users to collect data from them. So every user can select which apps can get to use their data, and in most of the cases, the response would be to not track. The recent sharp decrease in the stock prices of Facebook, Snapchat etc are due to this. It is unclear how this would impact the advertising market, as the main revenue source of these companies is through advertisement.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
On the surface, this seems a brilliant move from apple to protect their users from unwanted apps from tracking them. And to their credit, it might be even true in some cases, where apps harvest unnecessary data from mobile phones of users and use them without any restrictions. Many apps will now be forced to stop these tendencies, and so would prevent them from gathering tonnes of data from you.
Over the years, The collection of Data has become so much big that companies like google, apple and Facebook have enough data to model us, with accurate descriptions of our spending capacity, interests and a whole load of other data, and as of now, the only way for us is to either not use these services at all ( which is near impossible, who can live without Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok etc? ), or to Trust the companies with our data.
But recent leaks suggest that companies such as Facebook and TikTok have no discretion in using data, While google and apple have tried to implement some features in a way such that it does lesser harm as a whole. The new feature will most probably make the companies use our data with more care if at all they get the access.
However, we are unclear on how this would reflect in the Tech space, as a Majority of the services on the internet are free because they use advertisements as a source of revenue, as opposed to directly charging them with money. Now that the data cannot be collected from individual users directly (It can still be used, as I will explain later), The revenue they get from advertisements would also get substantially low as ads would not be as relevant as when there is enough data to Model you. They would have to cope with this situation somehow, as they cannot run without enough profit.
They would have to find other ways, and this might include showing more ads per user, Making apps paid while reducing the features of existing apps. Even websites will have to find new ways to earn a sustainable amount. This would in turn have an impact on how much we have to spend on individual apps and increase the number of microtransactions needed for smooth running.
If personalised ads are not possible, we would have to either spend more or see more ads, which is Understandable. we would have to sacrifice somewhere in order to have more robust data privacy. In fact, it would be a very good move from Apple, as there are so many people who value privacy more than needed and are willing to spend more to achieve the same. As Tim Cook said, Data privacy should be a basic human right, and we should hail Apple for this bold step.
But on taking a closer look, What apple says on Stage does not really sync with what they do off stage. For starters, even though Apple says that they are a primarily hardware-based company ( primary profit from selling hardware such as iPhones, mac etc), the revenue from the hardware sources have been steadily decreasing for the past 5 years, But their overall revenue is increasing nonetheless thanks to the increasing revenue from services.
On that page, Apple defines personal data as data that can be used to directly associate with an individual such as name, address, phone number, and the serial number of mobile phone. This does not include the various other information that Apple uses, as it does not fit under Apple’s version of “personal data”. From the real legal page, we can see that Apple collects and uses a large amount of data from its users, including their transactions, location, interests, and browsing history. The very things Apple said it does not collect in the shiny fake privacy page. This is not even illegal as in its privacy page, it gives personal data, Sharing with third parties etc a narrower meaning.
In a nutshell, Apple collects all the data that it can from its services ( Not as much as Google, as it has much more services like Google search and youtube to know about you). and it uses similar algorithms to google to decouple you from your Data and put you in groups of people with similar interests as you (Yes, Google is doing it for some time too and is as effective as Apple implementation but more effective).
Moreover, the dual stand that apple takes while asking for tracking permission is different for apple and third parties make it worse, where the apple version is Sugar-coated and presented as if it is only for the Good of users and of no profit for the company, The ATT permission preview for Third-party apps is straight-up scary and will make the user disagree for sure. apple privacy is worded in such a way that users might opt into the ad personalistation
Is Apple Really Good With Privacy?
Apple Products once redefined entire technologies and Industries, But lately, they have reduced to redefining Words to fit their version of the Story. As we mentioned earlier, We are not against Showing ads, But Apple uses their control and monopoly in the Apple ecosystem to prevent other apps to access data, while they themself use a different method to get the data required, and then sell it to the same people it was denied to fo a cost, While they already charge a premium stating that their Phones and other products are privacy centre. we personally think this is a foul Move for such a large and reputable company.
In fact, their revenue from ads increased by more than a whopping 250% since iOS 14.1 was released according to multiple sources. This makes it evident that privacy in the hands of users is just another BuzzWord from apple. Else they would surely have added at least an Option for app developers to add their own permission in ATT request, much like an apple. So as of now, we don’t think they DO-NOT follow their tagline .\
Is Apple Completely Wrong?
Even though the move from apple is not only for good intentions, It would most probably have some impact on the Ads ecosystem for Sure. Some of these are long-awaited and good for the end-user like you and me, such as having control over our data more than what we currently Enjoy. Companies such as Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat collect a large amount of data from the user, which is more than needed for reasonable advertising performance. we might see a change in this trend if we are lucky enough.
This article is written to be as close to reality as possible, and we have checked our sources multiple times to make sure they are right, So we hope this article is helpful to you. If you have different views from ours, feel free to comment down, and we are happy to add them if they are solid.