Every time we turn around, it seems that there’s another class-action lawsuit or antitrust complaint about Apple. The App Store has been so dominant for so long, and is not the *perfect* solution for app distribution.
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But that’s not the only area where Apple continues to see complaints, as there’s a renewed focus on ad targeting. Whenever you download an app, visit a website, or even search for a location, an app and your device are collecting data about you. This is why you can find very specific ads when using completely-different applications.
Apple has ad targeting of its own, called ‘Personalized Ads’, but until the most recent release of iOS 15, this was enabled by default. With iOS 15 Beta 8, Apple added the ability to opt-out of this “feature”, which was likely due to the various legal issues that the company is facing.
How to Opt Out of Personalized Ads in iOS 15
After updating to the latest version of iOS 15, the next time you open the App Store, a prompt will appear. This is the first way that you can opt out of Personalized Ads in iOS 15 and iPadOS. After providing a description of what Personalized Ads are, the pop-up offers two options; Turn On Personalized Ads or Turn Off Personalized Ads.
If you happen to opt-in just to try and skip past the prompt when attempting to download something, you can also turn it off after-the-fact. In order to do so, you’ll need to head over to the Settings app.
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
- Scroll down and tap Privacy.
- Scroll down on the next page and tap Apple Advertising.
- Tap the toggle next to Personalized Ads to the Off position.
The unfortunate aspect of Personalized Ads and turning them off or on, is that this does not reduce the number of ads that are shown. Apple goes so far to confirm this in the various descriptions and explanations regarding these ads.
Should You Opt Out?
Looking at Ad Tracking Information, Apple provides the following explanation:
You have turned off Personalized Ads, preventing Apple from using your account information or interactions with Apple services for serving ads. You may still be served ads based on the criteria listed below. Your personal data is not provided to third parties.
When you search on the App Store, your query may be used to serve you a relevant ad. On Apple News and Stocks, the type of story you read may be used to select appropriate ads. In addition, information about your device’s keyboard language settings, device type, OS version, mobile carrier, and connection type may be used to serve ads to you.
Essentially, all of this is to provide a bit more transparency than what we received before iOS 15. Apple confirms that you will continue to receive ads, but if you opt out of Personalized Ads, they won’t be related to your account. So instead of searching for sports scores and seeing ads for jerseys, you may find yourself instead seeing ads for the latest TV show coming to Apple TV+.
The question as to whether you should opt out of Personalized Ads is, well, a personal decision. It comes down to how much information do you want to be shared with Apple, compared to having ads tailored for your interests presented to you. It’s not an easy decision, but at least iOS 15 introduces the ability to opt out.
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.