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Only 4 percent of US iPhone users have agreed to app tracking after iOS 14.5

It seems that in the United States, at least, app developers and advertisers who rely on targeted mobile advertising for revenue are seeing their worst fears realized: Analytics data published this week suggests that US users choose to opt out of tracking 96 percent of the time in the wake of iOS 14.5.

When Apple released iOS 14.5 late last month, it began enforcing a policy called App Tracking Transparency. iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV apps are now required to request users’ permission to use techniques like IDFA (ID for Advertisers) to track those users’ activity across multiple apps for data collection and ad targeting purposes.

The change met fierce resistance from companies like Facebook, whose market advantages and revenue streams are built on leveraging users’ data to target the most effective ads at those users. Facebook went so far as to take out full-page newspaper ads claiming that the change would not just hurt Facebook but would destroy small businesses around the world. Shortly after, Apple CEO Tim Cook attended a data privacy conference and delivered a speech that harshly criticized Facebook’s business model.

While there’s no guarantee these rates will stay the same, they help explain why Facebook has attacked Apple’s privacy changes since they were announced in 2020. The social network appears poised to lose a large portion of its iOS ad targeting data, and that in turn could hurt the company’s all-important ad revenue.

Facebook has positioned iOS 14.5’s app tracking prompt as an attack on small businesses, and has even suggested that companies might have to start charging for site access without previous levels of ad personalization. Apple has refused to back down, however, arguing that users deserve choice and transparency. If the Flurry data holds up over time, Apple might have another reason to hold its ground it’ll have strong support from its customers.

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