At Apple’s WWDC, a number of new privacy features were unveiled that will be rolled out to iOS 14 later this year.

Origin: Mobile Dev memo • Apocalypse Now: per WWDC, the IDFA is dead

Among those — and most relevant to direct response marketers — is the AppTrackingTransparency framework, which requires an app to explicitly request a user’s permission before accessing their device’s IDFA, or unique mobile advertising identifier. If the user declines to grant an app access to the device IDFA, the user will appear to that app as if they have Limit Ad Tracking turned on.

Additionally, iOS 14 will introduce a “privacy dashboard” of sorts that will allow users to understand the information that various apps are tracking for them. Presumably, users will be able to revoke access to this data from the privacy dashboard, even if those apps had been previously given access to it.

And finally, Apple has introduced changes to SKAdNetwork, Apple’s app install attribution API that I wrote about back in 2018, that will make it possible to determine from which app a specific install campaign delivered a user. 

These changes represent a seismic shift in the mobile advertising ecosystem. Mobile advertising, and specifically app install advertising, will fundamentally change with iOS 14.

In Why is Apple Building an Ad Network?, I posited that Apple’s motivation in making the changes I predicted in Apocalypse Soon could be to capture some of the predicted $240BN market for mobile advertising in 2020 by giving itself a privileged position relative to other ad platforms if device-level tracking was no longer possible: