Privacy concerns: Apple tracks App Store visitors’ movements

Privacy concerns are mounting as Apple appears to monitor every move of App Store visitors track. What about your privacy?

Apple tracks App Store visitors: privacy at stake?

Two developers calling themselves Mysk shared data from the App Store on Twitter. These images show that Apple collects data from the moments when you, as an App Store visitor, touch the screen. According to Mysk, this data is always sent directly to Apple, even if the personalized ads are turned off.

With this data, Apple can keep a very detailed record of what you do in the App Store. This applies to both tapping on apps that are for sale and (accidentally) tapping on displayed advertisements.

More (personal) advertisements?

This privacy news comes after the announcement that more ads are showing in the App Store. The usually reliable Apple expert Mark Gurman has already said that Apple wants to triple its advertising revenue in the future. You can already notice this in the apps with the ‘Advertising’ bar under the name in the App Store.

App Store advertising

So, by analyzing the screen touches of App Store visitors, Apple basically gets direct feedback on the ads shown in the App Store. After all, the company keeps track of how often you as a visitor click on the advertisement and can see how well (or badly) an advertisement is doing. It is not yet known whether this collected data has an effect on the advertisements you see.

Visitors have been tracked since May 2021

According to Mysk, Apple has been analyzing the data of App Store visitors in this way since iOS 14.6, which came out in May 2021. This is remarkable, because according to Apple, iOS 14 was all about tracking-prevention. As a result, Apple could already count on criticism from advertisers, because the company would warn too much about tracking in apps.

The fact that Apple itself (without warning) now follows the screen touches of App Store visitors is therefore striking to say the least. Recently, Apple made it even more difficult for third parties to tracking, affecting platforms like Google and Meta. In any case, Apple says it does not share the data with third parties.

Privacy Report: See which apps are collecting your data

Are you curious about which apps store your data and whether your privacy is at risk by visiting the App Store? In iOS 15.2, Apple added an important privacy feature: the App Privacy Report. It shows you how your iPhone apps handle sensitive data, such as your location, contacts, microphone and photos. In the article below you can read exactly how you can request this privacy report.

Read more: iOS 15.2 privacy report – find out what data your apps collect

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