Apple Will Limit Third-Party Tracking in Kids Apps in iOS 13

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 1 Jun 2019

WSJ report details that many popular iOS apps for kids are silently tracking and sending their private data to marketing and other such companies. In a bid to prevent this, Apple is going to limit third-party tracking in apps on the Kids sections of the App Store.

A source told the Wall Street Journal that Apple is going to announce this change at its WWDC conference next week.

In recent weeks, a number of third-party apps have been found stealing and tracking user data and sending it back to their companies. While Apple itself does not track user behavior or keeps a log of their data, most iOS apps end up using third-party tracking services. The data collected is used for marketing, ad targeting, and research purposes.

Joanna Stern tested over 80 popular apps on the App Store and found that all of them barring one included third-party trackers. On average, the apps had four third-party trackers. More worryingly, the app her kid was using had seven trackers in it. She even found that a popular iOS app Curious World was sending details about her son to Facebook which the company claimed was a mistake on its part.

Apple allows developers to use third-party tracking services in their apps for ad targeting and analytical purposes. However, it looks like almost all of them are misusing this power for their own benefit and paying little attention to the privacy of their users.

Our Take

For a company that takes privacy so seriously and keeps highlighting it in ads, Apple should have a stricter stance in this aspect. The company might limit the use of third-party trackers in apps meant for kids but it should also consider taking a similar approach for all third-party apps on the App Store. Just earlier this week, a report revealed that third-party iOS apps were spying and stealing user data using hidden app trackers.

The whole ‘What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone’ privacy pitch from Apple loses its meaning when every other week one discovers that their personal data is being shared with third-party firms.

[Via WSJ]