How to use Apple’s iOS App Tracking Blocker
For months now, there’s been talk of companies like Facebook being against the planned App Tracking Blocker Apple has been promising is coming to iOS. There was even news of such companies sending notifications to users telling them to allow tracking once the feature rolls out, so as to enable them make money. The protest has been that the new feature will not only reduce their revenue streams, but could even hurt some company’s whole business models.
Apple, who has been a very loud privacy-first advocate, promised with the launch of iOS 14 to go all in on blocking apps from tracking users when they’re not using them. This is something every smartphone user has experienced. For example you google about a coffee mug, and when you open Facebook you see ads about coffee mugs.
Well, today iOS 14.5 is dropping with the new privacy feature. Once you install the new update, you should be able to individually block apps from tracking you when you’re not using them. This is building on the already existing feature on iOS by now letting you select which apps may track you and which ones may not.
Companies like Facebook will ask you to allow tracking. The current feature as it is now lets you just switch on or off all app tracking. There’s however a disclaimer that apps that don’t ask may still try to track you.
With iOS 14.5, immediately you install an app, you’ll be asked whether you want the new app to track you or not. Later on, you can go to Settings >> Privacy >> Tracking and select from the apps that have requested tracking, which app you will allow and which ones you’ll block.
Blocking all tracking will also block future apps from being able to track you. Let’s see how companies will try to find ways around the new feature. Let’s also wait and see how the Android OS will find ways to imitate the same feature.
Your iPhone’s browser doesn’t need to be set in stone.
It was only in Sept. 2020 that Apple released iOS 14, and with it the ability to set a custom default browser on your iPhone. The change was a small but meaningful one, as it gave users the option to essentially never use Safari again.
Because while Safari works fine, and has some decent anti-tracking tech built in, other iPhone-compatible browsers are no slouch. Take, for example, DuckDuckGo. The privacy-focused search engine makes an iPhone browser app that “automatically blocks hidden third-party trackers” and “forces sites to use an encrypted (HTTPS) connection where available.“
Sure, you don’t need to set a new browser as your default in order to use it, but if you download another browser on your smartphone it’s probably because you want to use that browser. It’s not like you need to delete Safari or anything. Instead, set it aside for a while and get a taste of what else is out there.
Here’s how to change your default browser on an iPhone:
- Download your new preferred browser from the App Store
- Go to Settings > Safari > Default Browser App
- Select your new browser of choice
That’s it. It’s that easy.
SEE ALSO: All the privacy apps you should have downloaded in 2020
If for some reason you don’t like the change, it just takes seconds to switch back.