App Store Privacy Labels: A Game-Changing Feature

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Apple announced a brand new feature at Worldwide Developers Conference at the beginning of the year. It is called privacy labels, and all apps in the App Store will have one. While some watchers might have missed this detail, Apple stayed true to its word. The latest iOS update now provides everyone with information on data collection within all apps they have on their devices.

After all, we have so many cyber-attacks and threats all over the internet. Protecting your data is a must if you tend to spend a lot of time online. So it is best if you have several layers of protection. For instance, a VPN can help you as well. It encrypts the data you send and receive on your computer and secures your internet connection. But if you want to know more about privacy labels, keep reading!

Where to find privacy labels?

Privacy labels are easy to locate. All you need to do is open an app page and find a section called App Privacy. There you can read everything about data tracking. We have to mention that labels are available for iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. Apple covered all operating systems with this update.

Additionally, the company will also provide the same data for all its applications and software. If an app is not downloadable from the Store, Apple will put the privacy labels on the web. The users can still read about the data use even on default apps.

What kind of information do privacy labels provide?

Apple tremendously increased transparency. You can see three types of data collection on privacy labels. Not to forget that users will precisely know what the app developers plan to do with their information.

First on the list is the data that tracks things you do outside an app. For instance, some apps keep an eye on your user ID to record other activities you do on your device. It helps them create a better profile of each user.

Secondly, there is data linked directly to you. It is used for target ads. You have probably encountered the effects of this type of data tracking. Perhaps you searched for a nearby craft store to buy art supplies. Now all the ads you can see are offering watercolors, markers, pens, and so on.

Finally, this feature tracks data that is not linked to you. Some trackers are not interested in what you do on your phone or type into a search bar. Instead, they record your movement, places you go throughout the day, locations you frequent, etc.

Remember that these trackers have been around for years now. However, users can finally learn more about them through privacy labels. So if you decide to download an app through the App Store, you will know what data it collects. Not to forget that privacy labels will tell you where your information is going. It is up to you to decide if you are comfortable using a particular app or not.

Do all apps have privacy labels?

Not all apps in the App Store have privacy labels right now. Apple did encourage developers to send them information about tracking their app use. They had a little less than a year to do so. Now that iOS 14.3 is out, users around the globe can finally view the privacy labels.

Older apps that haven’t provided the tracking data before the update are still available in the Store, and users can download them. Apple will not remove them for now. However, the developers will not be able to release new versions until they provide the tracking data. Additionally, they are required to post a link to a privacy policy as well.

Are there more privacy changes with the new iOS update?

Not at the moment. Even though this feature is not yet included in iOS 14, Apple plans to release an IDFA code. IDFA stands for Identification for Advertisers. It will tremendously increase your privacy. It requires all developers to ask the users if they are permitted to track their activity in apps or on websites with the IDFA code. So website cookies will be obsolete.

Therefore, users will be able to directly manage their privacy and allow certain apps to show customized ads made just for them. Even though we expected this update as a part of iOS 14, it seems like users won’t see it for a while. Apple said they are giving the developers more time to adapt to these changes.

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Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

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