Apple appears to have started tracking user activity while in the App Store, leading some to suspect that the company diverged significantly from its “privacy (opens in new tab) is a human right” ideals.
Two researchers using the Mysk alias found that iOS sent Apple a detailed log of how users interact with the App Store, including where they tap while interacting with the store. The information is delivered to the company in real time via a JSON file, it was said.
This newly discovered tracking feature could be linked to Apple recently introducing new ad placements to its mobile app repository, some believe, while others suggest that Apple has been tracking user behavior in this way since the release of iOS 14.6 in May 2021.
New Ad Placements
Apple hasn’t commented on it yet, but some researchers have noted that these findings appear to be related to new ad placements being introduced in the App Store.
In late October 2022, the company emailed iOS developers with new app-related ads that are rolling out in the market’s main Today tab, as well as in the “You might also like” section at the bottom of individual app listings.
9to5Mac also recalls that developers now have access to some statistics on how their ads are performing, this data being sent even if the personalized ads option is turned off.
Apple had a relatively rough start with its new ad placements, with recent reports claiming that unethical or irrelevant content (e.g., gambling or dating apps) made its way into this new placement, sparking outrage from the wider community.
Apple responded by temporarily suspending ads for these types of ads, but whether that will change in the future is anyone’s guess. If there are media reports, Apple will introduce even more ads in the future.
TechRadar Pro has contacted Apple for comment.
Through: 9to5Mac (opens in new tab)