Apple gave iPhone users a lot more control over how their data is shared with the release of iOS 14.5, and you'll want to take a peek at the new feature. With privacy at the forefront of an industry-wide conversation about social media and tech, Apple is giving its customers the power to choose if and how you're tracked when you're using your devices. To get started, here's how to use App Tracking Transparency on your iPhone and gain more control over your privacy settings.
Even when you're not actively using apps, some of them collect your data to share with third parties for a number of different reasons, such as personalized ads. The data that’s tracked is extensive, but it includes information about your activities on other apps and websites, your device location data, and personal information. While Apple previously allowed you to turn off tracking for all of your apps, the company's iOS 14.5 operating system makes it easier for iOS users to control exactly which apps they share their tracking information with by allowing them to control their choices in Settings. In addition, apps will now have to prompt users for permission before sharing any data. If you say no, that specific app won't be able to track or share your tracking information. Keep in mind that some apps may still collect other kinds of data even if you enable this feature.
Once you update your iPhone to iOS 14.5, all new app downloads will come with the option to customize your privacy settings before you use them. You'll be prompted with the option to "Allow" the app to track your activities across other companies' apps and websites or the option to "Ask app not to track." You can change this at any time in your Settings.
For existing apps, you'll have to go to your iPhone Settings, select "Privacy," and then tap "Tracking." While you were previously able to turn off tracking for all apps by toggling the "Allow apps to request to track" option off (which you can still do), you'll now see a list of all your apps that have asked to track you under that option. You can go through and pick exactly which apps (if any) can track your information.
While this update isn't totally the end of all the tracking of your data, it does give you an easy way to control if you want to share your information and who you share this information with. The feature is still pretty new, and some users are having issues with the "Allow apps to request to track" toggle being greyed out. If you're experiencing issues with the App Track Transparency feature, sit tight and check back in a few days to see if any bugs have been ironed out.