The IOS 14.5 Update – A nightmare for Advertisers?

With the new release of the IOS 14.5 update for iPhones and iPads, people are hyped with the brand new Emoji, the ability to unlock your phone with your Apple watch and not forgetting the brand new Apple Tags. Among these changes they have implemented App Tracking Transparency which might not be the greatest thing for advertisers after all.

This new feature provides a pop-up when loading up an app for the first time showing the option to Opt-out of “Activity Tracking” within the app (a bit like the option to disable notifications). This prevents the application from tracking what you are doing on your phone, searching on Google, etc…

What does this mean for Advertisers?

People often don’t like applications tracking what they’re doing online, this update provides them with an easy way to prevent companies such as Facebook from storing their data and sharing it to other websites. Most people will think this is great right? You get to keep some privacy.

Well, this causes a huge issue for business using ‘Targeted Advertising’. This method of advertising is what causes products and services to suddenly show up on Facebook after searching it on Amazon 20 minutes earlier. This is currently the most effective way for advertisers to get their products or services to the intended audience. Opting out of Activity Tracking will result in a huge impact for both advertisers and users. People that choose this option will end up viewing random advertisements instead of items/services they actually want or have recently searched. Advertisers will either see a reduction in click-throughs due to a lack of interest or have a much smaller target audience for their ads to be shown to.

Is there any way around this?

To put it simply, No. Apple has placed strict sanctions on applications that try to evade this or offer rewards to their users in exchange for activating app tracking. In most situations, this will result in their removal from the App Store altogether.

Why Has Apple Implemented this?

Despite this being an extremely controversial subject, Apple decided to go ahead with the implementation of this system. The cause of this being solely public request. People were getting tired of applications tracking everything they were doing, and to be honest you can’t blame them. At this point, Facebook likely knows more about you than you know yourself. This update will do great things privacy-wise and will prevent malicious apps from selling your data to the highest bidder, but sadly will also affect the good guys.


So is it all doom and gloom with the new IOS 14.5 update? Well no. They have greatly increased privacy for all Apple users and provides them with the option to decide what gets shared with the world, but in reality, everything you do on the internet gets tracked anyway. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) legally has to retain everything you search for a year (even searches in incognito mode). Any ISP could be selling this data anywhere without you even knowing, although it is unlikely it could be linked back to you. So is it really a bad thing that Facebook is seeing what your shopping for to try and get you the best deals?

Well, that’s up to you now!

If you want to talk about advertising in general, not just limited to digital, we’d love to chat. Get in touch via our contact page or give us a call on 01943 604100.

*Image supplied by Apple Newsroom