iOS 15 Will Ask Users If They Want to Enable ‘Personalized Ads’

BY Mahit Huilgol

Published 2 Sep 2021

Previously Apple has taken the flak for enabling personalized ads by default. Starting with iOS 15, you will get prompt asking permission for Personalized Ads. Once selected, the preferences will be applied across all devices linked with the Apple ID. Apple uses a combination of inputs, including your App Store search history, to decide what ad is displayed on apps like News and Stocks App. Furthermore, the data is also used to tailor App Store ads.

Currently, Apple’s personalized ads are toggled on by default. Typically most iPhone users will not bother to change the default settings. The Personalized ads preferences are nested within multiple layers of settings and are somewhat counterintuitive. Apple has always projected itself as a privacy-first company, and default ads seem unsettling.

Recently Apple runs into trouble with antitrust regulators. The problems compounded after Apple introduced an anti-tracking feature on iOS 14. Regulatory authorities noted that ad-tracking prompts appeared only for third-party apps and not for Apple apps. Perhaps this is one of the reasons iOS 15 will get a prompt for personalized ads. An antitrust complaint alleges that Apple “insufficiently informed about the use of processing of its personal data.”

Alongside the Personalized Ads prompt, Apple has also added an informational link about “Personalized Recommendations.” Both the prompts pop up when a user opens App Store. The company claims that its app doesn’t fall under the purview of App Tracking Transparency. The ATT rules exempt “first-party” data tracking. The regulators are currently under the impression that ATT is not anti-competitive as it allows Apple to run its ads without asking for consent. The new ad prompt for iOS 15 could help Apple address antitrust complaints.