Apple clamps down on app-tracking method

Apple has issued a note to developers claiming it will reject apps that access an iPhone’s unique identity code (UDID) making it more difficult for brands to track how consumers are using their apps.

Apple Maps

A post on the Apple developer site advises developers to remove software which accesses a device’s UDID from their existing apps.

“Starting May 1, the App Store will no longer accept new apps or app updates that access UDIDs. Please update your apps and servers to associate users with the vendor or advertising identifiers introduced in iOS 6,” reads the post.

Accessing an iPhone, or iPad’s UDID is a common way for brands to track how people are using their apps and for publishers to serve more targeted advertising to people accessing their content via such devices.

Apple’s policy of limiting usage of iOS apps started in 2011 when it stated that it was “depreciating” how developers can use its device’s UDID in a move that was widely read as a bid to protect consumers’ privacy and ward off potential regulatory scrutiny.

The move also diminishes the effectiveness of third-party ad networks as a means of targeting Apple users, but mobile advertising specialists have found alternative methods to target iPhone users, such as Mobile Futures Group’s Ad-X and StrikeAd’s software..

Meanwhile, European data protection parties are lobbying mobile app developers, reminding them of their obligations over consumer privacy as new European data protection laws are being debated in the EU legislature.

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