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Apple: Upcoming tvOS update will include 'App Tracking Transparency'

28 Jan 2021 | Rasmus Larsen |

In addition to the 'privacy nutrition labels' now shown in the iOS and tvOS app store, Apple will in an upcoming release of iOS 14 and tvOS 14 introduce 'App Tracking Transparency' tools.

Tracking transparency in tvOS

January 28 is Data Privacy Day, apparently, and Apple today announced further privacy initiatives to help users of its devices, including Apple TV, gain better insight into tracking practices of the apps and services that they use. The company most recently introduced 'privacy nutrition labels' (as seen below) for iOS and tvOS apps. The labels provide a summary of the developer's privacy practices.

Facebook privacy

The privacy nutrition labels for the Facebook Watch app on tvOS (Apple TV)

The next step is 'App Tracking Transparency', which will be introduced first in the next beta update and publicly in early spring 2021 with an upcoming update of iOS 14 and tvOS 14, the company said. App developers will now have to ask explicitly for the user's permission before tracking data across apps and websites. Under Settings users will be able to manage tracking permissions. - "And starting soon, with Apple’s next beta update, App Tracking Transparency will require apps to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across apps or websites owned by other companies. Under Settings, users will be able to see which apps have requested permission to track, and make changes as they see fit. This requirement will roll out broadly in early spring with an upcoming release of iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14, and has already garnered support from privacy advocates around the world," said Apple.

Facebook objects

Apple and Facebook have clashed over these new requirements in iOS and tvOS that force companies like Facebook to ask the user for permission to track activity across apps and websites via the user's advertising ID, or IDFA. It is now opt-in instead of opt-out. Facebook argues that it will affect small businesses around the world while Apple says that it believes privacy is a fundamental human right. As part of today's announcement, Apple released 'A Day in the Life of Your Data', a graphical and easy-to-understand report on tracking practices. - "Privacy means peace of mind, it means security, and it means you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to your own data," said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. "Our goal is to create technology that keeps people’s information safe and protected. We believe privacy is a fundamental human right, and our teams work every day to embed it in everything we make."

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