As Apple’s new app transparency policy deadline draws near, Google is slated to remove certain advertiser tracking tech from the iPhone versions of its own apps and switch to a different kind, Google said in a blog post Wednesday. Popular Google apps for iPhone like Maps and YouTube currently use a tool from Apple known as IDFA to track iPhone users’ activity across platforms via a unique identifier. Under Apple’s upcoming App Tracking Transparency update for iOS 14, iPhone users who download apps with IDFA will be prompted with a notification informing them and asking for consent.
“When Apple’s policy goes into effect, we will no longer use information (such as IDFA) that falls under ATT for the handful of our iOS apps that currently use it for advertising purposes. As such, we will not show the ATT prompt on those apps, in line with Apple’s guidance,” it continues. “We are working hard to understand and comply with Apple’s guidelines for all of our apps in the App Store,” Google said.
With Apple’s upcoming shift away from IDFA, Google faced a decision to either keep using IDFA on iOS versions of its app and thus require users to consent to be tracked via pop-up. Or it could switch to a new type of ad tracker. Deciding on the latter, Google said it will switch to another Apple tool called SKAdNetwork. The company said it’s pushing Apple to improve that framework, though, which is considered less effective at letting advertisers track you across devices.
Google’s announcement on tracker switching follows aover the privacy changes, in which in December, warning that the consequences of IDFA’s retirement would result in its users seeing less personalized ads.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit digital rights group, called Facebook’s argument “laughable.”