Apple may be a $2 trillion dollar company that makes some of the most desirable products anywhere, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t always looking for new sources of revenue. And it seems to have found it: advertisements.
Apple recently started showing display ads in the News and Stocks apps, and it doesn’t matter if you subscribe to News+ or not. You’ll still see ads on the Today tab of the News app and the Stocks news feed, even if they’re labeled “Subscriber Version.” Apple uses its own advertising platform to display the ads, which are obvious but not very intrusive and marked with a small “ad” in the lower right corner. While writing this article, we received advertisements for Motley Fool and Brilliant Earth jewelry.
Apple says the platform doesn’t track users and so isn’t part of the App Tracking Transparency pop-up. Apple’s advertising terms state that the platform is “designed to protect your privacy and not track you in apps and websites owned by other companies. That bit of “other companies” is key: According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, “Apple uses data from its other services and your Apple account to decide which ads to show.”
That’s likely to confuse third-party app developers, who have struggled with lost revenue since Apple launched the ATT system in iOS 14.5. Major developers like FaceBook have blamed Apple for billions in lost revenue due to the inability to track usage outside of their own apps. Apple’s compliance is kind of a loophole as they own numerous apps and services that come pre-installed on every iPhone.
While there is no Do Not Track switch, users can turn off personalized ads on their iPhone by going to the Apple Advertise tab in the Privacy and Security settings on the iPhone. That won’t turn them off, it will just make them more common.
Gurman speculates that the ads, which also appear in the App Store’s Today tab, will come to Maps next and “digital storefronts like Apple Books and Apple Podcasts.” However, he doesn’t think it will be a repeat of the failed iAd system that spawned ads for third-party apps on the iPhone.