Apple Forces Developers to Use More User-Friendly Advertising Identifiers

Apple’s App Review team has started rejecting apps using a technology called “cookie tracking” or “Safari flip-flop,” Techcrunch’s sources report. Cookie tracking is an alternative method mobile app developers are using to collect information about the device’s owner and paint a complete picture of an individual in terms of preferences, location, app usage, and more, instead of the deprecated UDID, the device’s unique device identifier.

The UDID allowed developers and ad networks to collect data about users, but Apple announced changes to UDID usage back in 2011. The developer community had begun to look for alternatives in the wake of applications using the outlawed technology being rejected.

So evolved “cookie tracking,” a great alternative means of obtaining the necessary information about users. This process usually involves HTML5 local storage, whereby developers can drop a “token” and then retrieve it later. This essentially acts like a cookie, which is how the name came about, VP of Business Development at mobile app marketing Fiksu Craig Palli explains.

With iOS 6, Apple introduced a new feature called “Advertising Identifier,” which was Apple’s signal to the industry indicating the direction it was heading. With apps now being rejected according to their cookie-tracking technology, Apple is pushing mobile app developers in the aforementioned direction: Developers need to start transitioning to Apple’s Ad Identifier technology.

Advertising Identifier is a non-permanent, non-personal device identifier that advertising networks will use to give iOS device users more control over advertisers’ ability to use tracking methods. Users can choose to limit ad tracking, which means advertising networks using the Advertising Identifier will no longer be able to gather information to serve you targeted ads.

Simply put, this is how Apple wants to protect iOS device users’ privacy; you still need to run Apple’s latest OS, though, and users concerned about having their personal usage habits tracked by apps and advertisers can reset the Advertising Identifier anytime with the handy new button pictured above.