Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

"Loose" interpretations of Apple's privacy policies allow apps such as Facebook and Snapchat to continue tracking users for targeted advertising even when they have asked to not be tracked, The Financial Times reports.


In May, Apple launched its App Tracking Transparency feature that allows users to opt-out of being tracked across apps and websites for advertising purposes. Seven months after Apple introduced the feature, companies such as Snapchat and Facebook have purportedly been allowed to continue sharing user-level signals from iPhones, providing that data is anonymized and aggregated rather than directly linked to specific user profiles.

The Financial Times said that Apple's position was the result of "an unacknowledged shift that lets companies follow a much looser interpretation of its controversial privacy policy." Apple has instructed developers that they "may not derive data from a device for the purpose of uniquely identifying it," which developers have interpreted to mean that they can still observe "signals" and behaviors from groups of users instead, enabling these groups to be shown tailored ads anyway.

Apple has not explicitly endorsed these techniques, but they allow third parties to track and analyze groups of users regardless of whether or not they have given consent to user-level tracking. In addition, Apple reportedly continues to trust apps to collect user-level data such as IP address, location, language, device, and screen size, even though some of this information is passed onto advertisers.

Snapchat investors were told that the company plans to share data from its 306 million users, including those who ask the app "not to track," with advertisers so that they can gain "a more complete, real-time view" of the success of ad campaigns. Likewise, Facebook is undertaking a "multiyear effort" to rebuild ad infrastructure "using more aggregated or anonymized data," according to the company's operations chief.

In June, Apple faced pressure to tighten the rules around App Tracking Transparency after it was found that third parties were using workarounds to identify users who do not consent to be tracked, but there have been no changes around looser "probabilistic" methods of user identification.

Article Link: Report: iOS Users Who Opt-Out of App Tracking Continue to Be Tracked by Facebook and Snapchat
  • Angry
Reactions: DeepIn2U and u+ive


macrumors member
Oct 16, 2020
United States
I’m so shocked, I’m so surprised. Oh my god, how come this isn’t surprising? This is groundbreaking news, who would’ve thought of this? Headline of the week for MacRumors. Give yourself a pat on the back Hartley Charlton because this is your best headline on the site, this should be breaking multinational news for every publication, and it’s not up for debate!


macrumors 68040
Apr 19, 2010
So on Apple devices even explicit privacy features might give only a false sense of security. Apple is getting looser and looser on privacy and security, and continuing to add self-sabotaging features like CSAM.

Wouldn't be surprised to hear one of these days that Apple has been selling private data of a billion users, only that they have a different interpretation of what is "selling" or "data" or "private" or "user".


macrumors regular
Mar 25, 2021
It’s crap like this that’s stopped me from using apps. I’m more and more just browsing 100% in incognito mode so no cookies are ever saved. I’ve also stopped using FB and insta altogether but that’s a different topic.

Thing is even in that mode they can do a fair amount of tacking. A lot of that information for fingerprinting is impossible to stop.
If you are not going threw a proxy or vpn they have your IP address and a rough location of where you are. You can not hide that as their servers get it.

Screen size yep that is needed by the apps and web pages so that can not be hidden. Device name is still there. Their is a lot of info that web browsers and apps just need to work that can not be hidden.

As for tacking web side. You have the plug in called Facebook pixel. It is exactly what it sounds like. It is exactly 1 pixel on the site that loads a bunch of info and sends it to Facebook. Worse part is they got it hidden in libraries that people like to use so it is loading and even the devs don’t know it until it is to late. Worse part is they will slip it in during an update so no one knows for a while.


macrumors 65816
Feb 24, 2019
I don't use Facebook or Snapchat. The app or the browser. I haven't logged on to FB in almost a year. Not only do I not miss it one bit, my life is much better for it.

I still have an account with a locked down profile that I never log in to. My SO still uses it, so if something family wise comes up, I still see/hear about it.

But I don't feel a desire to log on to it again.


macrumors 6502
Nov 16, 2017
United Kingdom
That’s why I deleted the Instagram app and only use the web version with a Home Screen favorite. Perks? No ads and no stupid shopping icon! Thanks to my Adblocker. You can barely tell it isn’t the App either. The only downside is the limited photo upload functionalities for stories
Just trying this ?


macrumors regular
Mar 26, 2003
I've resigned myself to the fact that, when I'm online, someone is tracking/monetizing it in some way. Having said that, I've dumped FB, IG and others to reduce the amount of tracking taking place.

Tor run through a VPN is looking better every day.
That only protects your IP. You need to use something like TAILS booted from thumbdrive if you want to stop the tracking entirely.
  • Like
Reactions: TechRunner
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.