New iPhone Update: How To Opt-out of Cross-App tracking

Kaili Lambe

By Kaili Lambe | April 26, 2021 | Advocacy

If you use an Apple iPhone, a new software update will give you the option to opt out of tracking by apps (including from Facebook, Instagram, and more) when you use your phone.

This is an important pro-privacy change that Apple announced it would make in 2020 – after Mozilla supporters called on the company to stop giving advertisers so much access to consumer data by regularly resetting users' IDFA. (Need a refresher on IDFA? Check out this Mozilla Explains.) And now iPhone users finally can decide if they want to opt-in to tracking.

Until now, advertisers have been able to track the actions users take across activity on iPhone – kind of like a salesperson that follows you from store to store while you shop, recording every item you look at. Creepy, right?

You can now opt out of this cross-app tracking with a new software update for iPhones. Just be sure to click the button that says “Ask App not to Track” after you update your iPhone’s iOS to 14.5.

How to Opt Out

If you don’t have an iPhone, you can help spread the word so your friends and family with iPhones can opt-out of tracking.

Apple’s decision to allow users to opt-out of cross-app tracking is a huge win for consumers, many of whom might not even be aware that they can be tracked across apps on their phone. Now, there's the option to opt-out of tracking at the point-of-use – that is consumers won’t have to dig deep into their phone’s settings to protect their privacy. Mozilla first called on Apple to curb cross-app tracking in 2019 because advertisers shouldn’t be able to collect highly personal data across apps without consumers’ consent.

If you have an iPhone, be sure to update your operating system so that you can opt-out of tracking, and then share the instructions to opt-out with your friends and family.