How to block ad tracking on your iPhone

In 2019 that much Washington post by Geoffrey Fowler described the author’s shock when he discovered the number of iPhone apps collecting and uploading information about his use while he was sleeping.

As we all know, data is a huge commodity today. If you’re using a phone, laptop, or any type of computing device (unless you’re a security expert or advanced hacker with access to sophisticated blocking tools), you’ll pay for the app by providing marketing and other information next. The company that supplies them.

As Fowler’s article shows, iPhone users are not immune to this. Since his article was published, Apple has made commendable changes to its privacy policy. However, it is still good to manage your own data. There are a few simple ways to minimize the amount of tracking your app vendor can perform and the amount of data they can access.

Turn off personalization and location-based advertising

According to Apple’s advertising and privacy page:

Apple’s advertising platform does not track you. This means that we do not associate any user or device data collected by our app with user or device data collected from third parties for targeted advertising or advertising measurement purposes, and we do not share user or device data with data brokers. .

However, the page states that contextual data such as information about the device, location, App Store searches, and readings from Apple News may be collected. Turning off personalized and location-based advertising can solve this problem to some extent.

To turn off personalized advertising

  • Select the “Settings” app, tap “Privacy”, then scroll down and select “Apple Advertising” (near the bottom of the list).
  • Turn off’Personalized Ads’.

You can turn off Apple’s personalized advertising.

You can also turn off location services.

You can also turn off location services.

To turn off location-based advertising

  • Select “Settings”> “Privacy”> “Location Services” (top of display).
  • Turn off “Location Services”.

On this page, you can also change several apps like App Store or Maps to disallow location access, ask next time, or use the app. You can also continue to use the “Find My Phone” feature. Temporarily activate location services.

To see how effectively your phone is protected, try the Panopticlick test provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Best of all, it monitors the device fingerprint. After following the instructions above, I ran it on my Apple iPhone 11 and got “partial protection” results for blocking tracking ads, blocking invisible trackers, and anti-fingerprinting.

Safari lock

If you’re using the Safari browser on your iPhone, here are a few things you can do to make it safer.

In the iPhone's settings

Select “Safari” in your iPhone’s settings.

It is safer to enable “Block all cookies”, but it can also be inconvenient.

  • Go to Settings.”
  • Select “Safari” and scroll down to the “Privacy & Security” section.
  • Turn on “Avoid Cross-Site Tracking” (advertisers and other third-party content providers cannot track you from one site to another).
  • Turn on “Block all cookies”. Cookies collected by various websites can contain a lot of information about how you use the site, information entered on the site, and more. Blocking cookies can prevent that data from being collected.

But you are probably very uncomfortable with yourself. Site visits are not recorded, so you can’t, for example, revisit a playlist or buy the same t-shirt you bought last year. Some sites even refuse to enter if they do not allow the collection of cookies. It’s your choice.

Turn off background app refresh

The reason for turning on background app refresh, according to Apple, is to allow suspended apps (apps that are not currently active) to “check for updates and new content”. According to the privacy app company Disconnect, cited in the article by Geoffrey Fowler, the app can collect and transmit marketable tracking data even when the app is not in use. Interestingly, the iPhone comes with background app refresh turned on, but it’s not that difficult to turn it off.

  • Go to Settings.”
  • Select “General”.
  • Select “Refresh Background App”.
  • A list of all apps using this feature will be displayed and all will be turned on. Find and tap “Refresh Background App” at the top of the page.
  • You will be taken to a page where you can turn off Wi-Fi and Cellular Data, Wi-Fi Only or All. Select “Off”.
  • If you go back to the previous page, you can see that all the toggles for the various apps are completely gone.

It’s a good idea to choose an app that can work in the background. Otherwise, some apps may not work properly. For example, Google Photos won’t automatically back up your camera roll unless you use this feature. So, if you want, you can leave “Refresh Background Apps” turned on and choose the specific apps you want to turn off.

UPDATE March 8, 2021 at 5pm EST: This article was originally published on May 30, 2018. Several parts have been updated to reflect the changes in iOS.


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