Early data shows a surprising number of iOS users have opted-in to getting tracked

Early data shows a surprising number of iOS users have opted-in to getting tracked
When the final version of iOS 14.5 was released this past Monday, it included an eagerly awaited feature allowing face-mask wearing iPhone users to unlock their handset simply by wearing an unlocked Apple Watch. The mask blocks Face ID from getting an unobstructed view of the user's face requiring the use of the user's passcode to unlock the device. But for many, typing in their passcode is the equivalent of scraping fingers on the blackboard.


Along with other new features such as additional voice options for Siri, and more emoji at your fingertips, Apple debuted the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature with iOS 14.5. ATT allows users to opt-in giving third-party apps permission to continue tracking them for the purposes of sending ads, discounts, and other forms of online promotion. Users can also request that a particular third-party app stop following them as they travel across other apps and through the internet.

Survey says that close to 50% of iOS users responding to an ATT prompt have opted-in for tracking


Analysts have estimated that over time, one-third of iPhone users will choose to allow tracking although fresh data coming in from research firm appfigures (via AppleInsider) says that this figure has been higher than expected in the early going. Only 10,000 apps have enabled ATT thus farand have been disseminating the prompts that give users the ability to opt-in for tracking or to opt-out. 

25% of the apps that have started pushing out the ATT prompt have been games according to appfigures, followed by the slightly more than 6% of the total that comes from the Utilities category. The analytical firm said on Friday that it is "not surprised to see apps turning this on right away instead of stopping to track. Companies like McDonald's and Spotify and data mungers like Facebook and TikTok have a big enough following that they have to."

Appfigures ran a survey on Twitter and as of last Thursday, 49.1% of those responding said that they have been eye-to-eye with a ATT prompt. 23.1% opted-in for tracking while 26%
requested that they no longer be tracked. So looking at the results from those who have received the prompt thus far, a far higher than expected 47% are choosing to allow third-party apps to track them.

While higher than the 33% expected to opt-in, appfigures says that this is still a big number and points out that "Losing half of inputs would break most models, regardless of how good they are." The app analytics firm also notes that most companies have not taken the time to polish up the copy written for the "pre-prompt" which is allowed to be customized with certain restriction.

Screenshots posted by appfigures show how DunkinDonuts tries to get users to opt-in by explaining that their data will be used to deliver personalized ads. Streaming video app Hulu has a long-winded "pre-prompt" that leaves readers with eyes glazed over and drool dripping out of the mouth. But the ATT created by Wildlife Safari is the equivalent of a two-headed coin as it only comes with one option that can be selected and that is the option to accept being tracked.

This is an area where companies are going to need to get better to persuade users to opt-in, but it must be done without going outside the box that Apple has created. For example, last week we told you that Apple said it will toss out any apps that bribe users to opt-in for tracking. Apple created a fake example of an ATT prompt that offers $100 in credit to those who allow themselves to be tracked.

App Tracking Transparency is brand spanking new so we can't put that much currency in the numbers after one week. After a few months we should have a better idea how users are responding to it.

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