The average Joe these days has a pretty basic understanding of what it means when people tell them that they are being “tracked” in the new digital world we live in. They might believe that it means every bit of information regarding their personal life is being spewed across the web to hundreds of different advertisers, marketers, and businesses. For this reason, most people see tracking as a bad thing, almost as if it should be illegal, considering that in their minds, it is a complete violation of their privacy on the web. Now, even though there are some marketers out there who do take advantage of personal information that users do not want to share, that does not mean that all tracking is done in that manner. The reason I bring this up is because of iOS 6’s new default tracking settings.
Apple’s brand new operating system has been out for a while now, and now that people have had a chance to get acquainted with it, many have found out about this new tracking setting, and without the proper knowledge of how it works, they have become afraid for their privacy. Apple, of course, would never do something as bold as to release the private information of any of their device users. This new tracking system that Apple has made a default setting simply accumulates data about its users so that advertisers can target ads more efficiently and no personal information is released. This is accomplished with the use of something that is very new to Apple’s devices, called IFA.
This IFA system, something you have probably already become familiar with, allows advertisers to take information regarding activity on individual devices and target those devices based on this activity. In no way does this mean that a user’s personal information will be distributed. Plus, users are given the option of turning this default setting off, even though it may be a bit tricky to get to.
The difficulty of turning the option off was no mistake, however. Apple purposely made it a bit hard to find, hoping that users would not find the setting and turn it off while over reacting because of their lack of knowledge about the tracking settings.
Marketers have enjoyed the new setting, for reasons explained in a quote by the CEO of Mobile Theory from a Business Insider article;
“It’s a really pretty elegant, simple solution,” says Mobile Theory CEO Scott Swanson. “The biggest thing we’re excited about is that it’s on by default, so we expect most people will leave it on.”
It is not as if this setting on iOS 6 is any recent news, but the news of concern among Apple users is new. When it comes down to it though, there is no reason for concern from consumers, as no personal information is released and the setting is optional. The IFA system on iOS 6 has helped marketers substantially with their mobile campaigns as well, so really no one is being hurt by these settings.