The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Features

October 16, 2012

How to stop Apple's iOS6 from tracking your activity for advertisers

The new iPhone 5 swept you off your feet in September. It dazzled you with sapphire crystals and diamond-cut edges; vibrant, kaleidoscopic Retinas that seemed to peer straight into your soul; and longer battery life - when you were awake, so was it.

But something didn't feel quite right. You couldn't put your finger on it - but it was as if the iPhone didn't trust you. As if it felt the need to track your every move.

You weren't imagining things. Apple's new iOS 6 does, indeed, come with a default setting that tracks your activity, gathering a constant stream of personal data. Apple's advertising arm, iAd, uses that data to create a targeted, personal ad campaign based on your recent Googling of "romantic comedies," that knitting app you downloaded, and the Thai restaurant you checked into last night.

This tracking isn't new. Apple devices have long carried unique device identifiers, or UDIDs (think of it as your iPhone's Social Security number), which third-parties used to seed phones with targeted ads. But after Congress raised privacy concerns last spring, Apple began using UDID data only "for its own purposes," Mikey Campbell, associate editor at Apple Insider, explained to me in an email. In its place for third parties is a new iPhone tracking technology, according to Business Insider.

It's called an Advertising Identifier, and it's basically an anonymous device ID number so businesses can follow your activities, without knowing much else about you. When you surf Crate & Barrel searching for stainless steel cookware, for example, the site's publisher may send your Advertising Identifier to an ad server. Later, expect to see a lot of steel spatulas pop up on your screen.

For a brief period after the release of the iPhone 5, the Advertising Identifier reportedly wasn't working. That meant advertisers couldn't see if their ads influenced a user's decision to buy something or prompted him to install an app. (These activities are known as "conversion.") But now, the feature is working.

Here's the good news: You can turn it off - and send skulking advertisers on their way. But unlike most activities associated with Apple, shutting it down is somewhat counterintuitive.

 Here's how you fly under the iOS radar:

1. Press the Settings icon.

2. Scroll down and press " General," then " About," and then "Advertising."

3. Turn "Limit Ad Tracking" on, so that it is, in fact, limiting the ad tracking.

Another method: The Support tab of Apple's website offers instructions and a link to "opt out" of what it calls "interest-based iAds."

However, this may not free you of all advertiser tracking. According to an Apple notice titled "About Ad Tracking," all advertising networks will be required to use the new ID number in the future - so turning it off once should get you out of that system entirely. But "until advertising networks transition to using the Advertising Identifier, you may still receive targeted ads from other networks."

What are those cryptic " other networks?" Apple Insider's Campbell thinks the phrase refers to "third-party analytics from ad networks.

And has Apple set a deadline for advertisers to transition to the new Advertising Identifier system?

Not yet, but "that could change if the mass media gets ahold of the info and runs with it," Campbell says.

 

1
Text Only
Features
  • dog-sunglasses.jpg Do animals have a sense of humor?

    Right now, in a high-security research lab at Northwestern University's Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics, scientists are tickling rats. Their goal? To develop a pharmaceutical-grade happiness pill. But their efforts might also produce some of the best evidence yet that humor isn't something experienced exclusively by human beings.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140317-AMX-DESIGN-FOOD178.jpg Fun and beautiful maps of the world made from signature regional foods

    Food stylist Caitlin Levin and photographer Henry Hargreaves have collaborated on a series of food-based country maps composed of signature national ingredients.

    March 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • AvengerExt.jpg Avenger an American value

    If you’re someone who appreciates the golden age of domestic sedans — those big, comfortable, heavy-feeling cars with a uniquely American sense of style — this one ought to pique your interest.

    March 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • Screen shot 2014-02-27 at 4.27.26 PM.png The glitz, the glamour and the movies: 3 apps for Oscar weekend

    With the Oscars approaching, this is a weekend for movies. Download these apps, then watch a few movies, create your own and settle in for the awards show.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140218-AMX-DESIGN-HOTEL182.jpg The rise of the hotel bakery

    One of the key trends in hotel design in recent years has been a sharp focus on creating a hotel lobby that is a destination, not just a pass-through.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • How the U.S. government spends millions to get people to eat more pizza

    WASHINGTON - It all adds up to a lot of calories: On an average day, the report notes, pizza provides 6 percent of the total caloric intake for American children and 4 percent for American adults.

    February 18, 2014

  • Mazda3Int.jpg Redesigned Mazda3 among best new small cars

    Mazda must be dabbling in black magic.
    How else can you explain the fact that this relatively small Japanese company is doing what no one else in the car industry seems to have figured out? They’re building cars that get amazing gas mileage and are exhilarating to drive at the same time.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • SoulExt.jpg Soul is still stylin’

    Starting under $15,000, the Soul has always pegged its success on buyers who want a trendy, contemporary, eye-catching car without spending a ton of cash. And now that an all-new Soul is out for 2014, it shows that Kia is doubling down on this recipe of combining funky looks and an affordable price.

    February 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 01.jpg US News names its 'Best Cars for the Money'

    WASHINGTON - U.S. News & World Report Wednesday announced its annual Best Cars for the Money list on its Best Cars website.

    February 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • You're doing it wrong: how to make better ramen

    NEW YORK — The finer points of instant ramen preparation may be up for debate, but the noodle cakes and flavor packets bequeathed to the world by Momofuku Ando are un-mess-up-able.

    February 10, 2014

House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Featured Comment
Twitter Updates
Seasonal Content
Poll

Will you participate in March Madness?

Yes I watch the games and complete a bracket.
Yes I complete a bracket.
No
     View Results