The developer and mobile advertising technology world breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday after Apple announced it would postpone new privacy restrictions that promised to upend the way advertising works on iPhone apps. The official announcement came after The Information had reported the story.
Apple had planned to strictly limit data collection from its devices, data that is key to running the mobile advertising ecosystem. The privacy update was expected to come with the rollout of iOS 14 software this month, which runs on iPhones and other Apple devices. With the update, app developers—the companies that build the games, fitness trackers, social apps and other mobile utilities—would have to get permission from individual users to collect what’s known as their IDFA (Apple’s identification for advertisers.)
“The expectations among a lot of people in this business were that users were not going to opt in and it would wreak havoc on the industry,” says Matt Barash, VP of business development at AdColony, a mobile ad platform that could be affected by Apple privacy changes.
The Apple ad ID is a key link in the advertising process on close to a billion iPhones. The ID can track how users engage with an app and their interests, which can be helpful in targeting people with more service and ads. Game developers, in particular, rely on the ID to market to new and existing customers. Developers also rely on that data to measure advertising performance, and they run sophisticated measurement analysis to calculate each user’s value to their bottom lines.