Apple Delays New Rule Which Bans Use of Third-Party Trackers in Kids Apps

Apple has decided to delay its new rule of banning the use of third-party trackers in apps for kids on the App Store following developer backlash. The rule would have also heavily restricted the ability of developers to show ads in their apps.

With the release of iOS 13, Apple was going to limit the use of third-party app tracking in apps for kids. The company aimed to do this for the privacy and security of kids as many apps were found silently using third-party trackers to send personal data to marketing and advertising companies.

However the move from Apple would have negatively affected a lot of free iOS apps for kids. Apple was blanket banning third-party trackers and ads in kids apps which would have simply made it unsustainable for developers to offer their apps for free. The company’s move was due to concerns from parents due to inappropriate ads being shown to their children.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said parents were complaining to Apple about inappropriate advertising shown to their kids while using iPhone apps. “Parents are really upset when that happens because they trust us,” Schiller said.

Due to developer backlash and feedback from them, Apple has now decided to delay the roll out of this rule. The company is also working closely with developers to help them adhere to the rules properly.

Following an inquiry from The Washington Post, Apple said Friday that it now plans to delay the rule changes. “We aren’t backing off on this important issue, but we are working to help developers get there,” Apple spokesman Fred Sainz wrote in an emailed statement. The statement said some developers had asked Apple to clarify the new rules, but that “generally we have heard from them that there is widespread support for what we are trying to do to protect kids.”

Many developers of kids apps had hoped that Apple would take strict action against the guilty apps. Instead, the company came up with a rule that essentially blanket bans ads and third-party tracking code in all apps for kids.

Developers want that Apple vets all apps for kids that show ads and use tracking code.

In June this year, Joanna Stern for WSJ tested 80 popular apps for kids on the App Store. Barring one, all the apps had third-party trackers and sent personal information to other companies.

Apple allows developers to use third-party trackers in their apps for analytical and ad targeting purposes. However it is clear that almost all apps take unfair advantage of this by collecting and sending personal data of kids to third-party advertisers.

[Via The Washington Post]