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This article was published on May 7, 2021


Suck it, Zuck — only 4% of US iOS users say ‘okay then’ to ad tracking

I'm struggling not to shed a tear for poor Facebook

Suck it, Zuck — only 4% of US iOS users say ‘okay then’ to ad tracking
Callum Booth
Story by

Callum Booth

Editor of Plugged by TNW

Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He w Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He writes about gear, gadgets, and apps — with a particular focus on Apple — and also makes the occasional odd video. Basically, he's halfway between an abrasive gadget nerd and thinky art boy.

At the end of the day, all Apple wants is your money. Sometimes though, this desire for cash manifests as something that’s actually positive for users. And Apple‘s app tracking transparency is one of those things.

With the launch of iOS 14.5, Apple included a feature that allows you to stop apps tracking you across multiple bits of software or websites. Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg hate it — and you can find a breakdown of the function here.

And — would you believe it? — it appears as though droves of iOS users are opting out of being tracked across apps. No. Surely not. Never.

A new report from Flurry analytics estimates that only 4% of active iOS users in America have opted in to ad tracking:

US app tracking transparency opt-in apple
As you can see at the bottom of the image, this is based on a sample size of 2.5 million users.

If you take the whole world into account, this rises to 12%. This global figure is based on a sample size of 5.3 million active daily iOS 14.5 users.

One of the interesting elements of app tracking transparency is there are two ways to use it. The default option is you get a pop-up when an app requests access. Something that looks like this:

app tracking transparency request
NOPE.

This function is what the figures above are based on. The other option available is to turn the “Allow Apps to Request to Track” off completely. You can see an example of this right here:

apple ad tracking transparency option
Make sure your iPhone looks like this too.

When this function is off, apps are automatically unable to track you. According to Flurry Analytics, only 5% of active iOS users worldwide have this restricted feature enabled.

Are you reading this on an iPhone? Then, friend, go and revoke access to this data right now. Let’s increase that percentage.

You can find it in: Settings > Privacy > Tracking.

App tracking transparency is undoubtedly a Good Thing, but let’s not lose sight of why Apple is doing this: to make money. Privacy is now an Apple product. A very good one, mind, but something it wants you to shell out on.

Still, I’d rather buy that than the privacy-eroding shit Facebook’s selling. And it looks like Apple’s selfish move is coming up Milhouse for each any every iPhone user. That’s gotta be worth something.

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