❤ Apple may keep track of everything you tap while browsing the App Store
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Apple has always stood for privacy as a “human right” while the company has never liked the idea of having advertisements on its platforms. But as the App Store is now getting new ad placements, some people have become concerned about how the company’s policies may change. To add more fuel to the fire, developers have discovered that Apple may keep track of everything you tap while browsing the App Store.
Apple knows everything you tap on the App Store
Two developers and security researchers who identify themselves as “Mysk” have raised privacy concerns about the App Store getting more ads. More specifically, the developers revealed that iOS sends Apple a detailed log of how users interact with the App Store.
As shown in a brief video, the usage data includes details about where the user taps on the screen. This information is sent in real time to Apple via a JSON file.
According to developers, the company has been tracking users’ actions within the App Store since the release of iOS 14.6 in May 2021. Interestingly, as noted by BGR’s José Adorno, the company introduced the App Tracking Transparency feature a month earlier with iOS 14.5.
There’s no official explanation as to how Apple uses this data, but it seems that the company is still tracking users as they browse the App Store. It’s worth noting that since Apple started offering ads on the App Store, developers have access to some statistics about how their ads are performing – so such data may be related to this.
Even though Apple may claim that the collected data is not shared with third parties, this sounds quite controversial since Apple has been creating barriers to make it harder for third parties to track iOS users, which has affected ad platforms from Google and Meta. And according to Mysk, App Store data is sent to Apple even when the Personalized Ads option is turned off.
The recent changes that Apple has made to App Store ads should raise many #privacy concerns. It seems that the #AppStore app on iOS 14.6 sends every tap you make in the app to Apple.👇This data is sent in one request: (data usage & personalized ads are off)#CyberSecurity pic.twitter.com/1pYqdagi4e
— Mysk 🇨🇦🇩🇪 (@mysk_co) November 3, 2022
Ads on the App Store
Apple last month introduced new ad placements to the App Store. While previously developers could only promote their apps in App Store Search, now they can also pay to show their apps on app pages and in the Today tab.
Soon after the new ad placements were made available, many users criticized them for showing irrelevant or ethically questionable content, such as casino and dating apps. The company then temporarily suspended ads for these apps, but it’s unclear what will happen next.
According to rumors, Apple plans to push even more ads to its users in the future. At the same time, the company makes it more difficult for competitors to reach iOS users with advertisements, which could eventually lead to a new antitrust investigation.