Thursday, March 21, 2019

Apple: "Want Privacy, Choose an iPhone" - Huh?

This morning, I was greeted on Twitter by a sponsored tweet from Apple that said "The iPhone is built for privacy". As I clicked through and tried to see if Apple was actually making an announcement about some new privacy initiative, it felt Orwellian to me.

Apple, having tracked (probably) that I'm concerned about privacy and tracking, targeted an advertisement at me. This is a form of behavioral advertising which is that creepy thing that allows advertisers to track what you are interested in and advertise to you everywhere.

Googled info on St Louis?  Hotels, car rental companies, and airlines are now in your Twitter and FB feeds plus with banner ads on every site urging you to save money and time with their offering. But act now!

Having trouble with your ding dong? Turns out there's ads everywhere about polishing, fixing, upgrading, and trouble-shooting your ding dong. Even Youtube starts suggesting ding dong videos.

Back to Apple. So after reading Apple's hyping of their respect and concern for my privacy, I opened my phone to look at my privacy settings. After I clicked in, I scrolled to the bottom and clicked on Advertising and then on About Advertising and Privacy.

There's a lot to learn. I copy / pasted it below. BTW, there's no way do that easily. Apple's iPhone somehow doesn't allow a select all option when looking at the privacy text. Nor does it have a built-in way to get it emailed to myself. So I had to to that weird thing where I am selecting the text with one finger while scrolling with another to get to select all the text).

Advertising and Privacy

Apple’s ad platform is designed to protect your information and enable you to choose what you share.

Apple’s advertising platform is designed to protect your information and enable you to choose what you share.

Ads that are delivered by Apple’s advertising platform may appear in the App Store on iOS, Apple News, and Stocks.

The following contextual information may be used to serve ads to you:

Device Information: Your keyboard language settings, device type, OS version, mobile carrier, and connection type.

Device Location: If the Location-Based Apple Ads system service is enabled, then your location may be used to serve you geographically relevant ads. Your device location is not stored by Apple’s advertising platform and profiles are not constructed from this information.

Searches in the App Store on iOS: When you search in the App Store on iOS, your query may be used to serve you a relevant Search Ad.

Apple News and Stocks: The type of article you read is used to select appropriate ads.

Additionally, to ensure ads are relevant, Apple’s advertising platform creates groups of people, called segments, who share similar characteristics and uses these groups for delivering targeted ads. Information about you is used to determine which segments you are assigned to, and thus, which ads you receive. To protect your privacy, your information is used to place you into segments of at least 5,000 people.

In Apple News and Stocks, the topics and publications associated with your News identifier, and the publications you allow to send you notifications are used to assign you to segments. No segments are created from search terms in the App Store.

In the App Store on iOS, Apple News, and Stocks, the following information may also be used to assign you to segments:

Account Information: Your name, address, age, and devices registered to your account. Information such as your first name in your Apple ID registration page, or salutation in your iTunes Account may be used to derive your gender.

Downloads & Activity: The music, movies, books, TV shows, and apps you download as well as any in-app purchases.

Activities in Other Apps: App developers, subject to their own privacy policies and applicable laws, may provide information regarding your in-app purchases and activities such as game level completion.

Advertising: Your interaction with advertising delivered by Apple’s advertising platform.

Other Segments: For specific advertising campaigns, advertisers may match information they have about users with Apple’s information to create segments, which must contain at least 5,000 people. Advertisers can use an Advertising Identifier, or other information they have about users, such as a phone number or email to match users to segments on Apple’s advertising platform. During the match process, these identifiers are obscured to limit personally identifiable information being disclosed. To choose which segments they match users to, Advertisers may use information they have from interactions with users. This information is acquired and used subject to the Advertisers’ own privacy policies.

Apple does not know or make available to advertisers information regarding your sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or political affiliations. No Apple Pay transactions or Health app data is accessible to Apple’s advertising platform, or is used for advertising purposes.

Apple does not sell or otherwise transmit any personally identifiable information to third parties.

Information collected by Apple is treated in accordance with Apple’s Privacy Policy, which can be found at

View Your Advertising Preferences

About this Ad

To understand why a specific ad was shown to you in the  App Store on iOS, Apple News, or Stocks, tap the “Ad” button on the ad. This will present the segments and other data, such as demographic information, that resulted in you receiving the ad.

Ad Information

To see information about you that may be used to deliver targeted ads via Apple's advertising platform, including the segments that you are in, on your iOS device open “Settings”, select “Privacy”, then select “Advertising”, and tap “View Ad Information.”

To see this information on macOS, open “System Preferences”, select “Security & Privacy”, open the “Privacy” tab, then select “Advertising”, and click on “View Ad Information”.

If you have Limit Ad Tracking enabled, Apple’s advertising platform does not have Ad Preferences data for you.

If you believe information about you is inaccurate, please update your Apple ID and iTunes account information.

Choose Your Advertising Preferences

Opt-out of ads targeted based on your location

You may choose to opt out of receiving location-based advertising on your iOS device by opening “Settings”, tapping “Privacy”, tapping “Location Services”, tapping “System Services”, and sliding the “Location-Based Apple Ads” switch to “off”.

On macOS, you may opt out of receiving location-based advertising by opening “System Preferences”, selecting “Security & Privacy”, opening the “Privacy” tab, selecting “Location Services” and unchecking the “Location-Based Apple Ads” box.

Apple’s advertising platform does not receive location-based information when you turn off Location Services on your device.

Opt-out of targeted advertising

You may choose to enable Limit Ad Tracking on iOS by opening “Settings,” then tapping on “Privacy,” then “Advertising”, and sliding the Limit Ad Tracking switch to “On”. To enable Limit Ad Tracking on Apple TV open “Settings”, select “General” then “Privacy”, and set “Limit Ad Tracking” to “On.” On macOS, you may enable Limit Ad Tracking by opening “System Preferences,” selecting “Security & Privacy”, opening the “Privacy” tab, selecting “Advertising”, and checking the “Limit Ad Tracking” box.

If you choose to enable Limit Ad Tracking, Apple’s advertising platform will opt your Apple ID out of receiving ads targeted to your interests regardless of what device you are using. Apps or advertisers that do not use Apple’s advertising platform but do use Apple’s Advertising Identifier are required to check the Limit Ad Tracking setting and are not permitted by Apple’s guidelines to serve you targeted ads if you have Limit Ad Tracking enabled. When Limit Ad Tracking is enabled on iOS 10 or greater, this Advertising Identifier will be replaced with a non-unique value of all zeros to prevent the serving of targeted ads. It is automatically reset to a new random identifier if you disable Limit Ad Tracking.

Whenever you want to clear the data associated with your Advertising Identifier, you can simply reset it. To reset your Advertising Identifier on iOS, open “Settings”, tap “Privacy”, tap “Advertising”, and tap “Reset Advertising Identifier”. To reset your Advertising Identifier on Apple TV, open “Settings”, then select “General”, select “Privacy”, and click “Reset Advertising Identifier.” To reset your Advertising Identifier on macOS, open “System Preferences,” select “Security & Privacy”, open the “Privacy” tab, choose “Advertising”, and  click the “Reset Advertising Identifier” button.

If you enable Limit Ad Tracking, you may still receive the same number of ads, but the ads may be less relevant to you.

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