User Privacy and Data Use

The App Store is designed to be a safe and trusted place for users to discover apps created by talented developers around the world. Apps on the App Store are held to a high standard for privacy, security, and content because nothing is more important than maintaining users’ trust. In order to submit new apps and app updates, you need to provide information about some of your app’s data collection practices on your product page. And starting with iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5, you’ll be required to ask users for their permission to track them across apps and websites owned by other companies.

Describing How Your App Uses Data

The App Store better helps users understand an app’s privacy practices before they download the app. On each app’s product page, users can learn about some of the data types an app may collect, and whether the information is used to track them or is linked to their identity or device.

In order to submit new apps and app updates, you must provide information about your privacy practices in App Store Connect. If you use third-party code — such as advertising or analytics SDKs — you’ll also need to describe what data the third-party code collects, how the data may be used, and whether the data is used to track users.

Learn more

Asking Permission to Track

Starting with iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5, you’ll need to receive the user’s permission through the AppTrackingTransparency framework to track them or access their device’s advertising identifier. Tracking refers to the act of linking user or device data collected from your app with user or device data collected from other companies’ apps, websites, or offline properties for targeted advertising or advertising measurement purposes. Tracking also refers to sharing user or device data with data brokers.

Examples of tracking include, but are not limited to:

  • Displaying targeted advertisements in your app based on user data collected from apps and websites owned by other companies.
  • Sharing device location data or email lists with a data broker.
  • Sharing a list of emails, advertising IDs, or other IDs with a third-party advertising network that uses that information to retarget those users in other developers’ apps or to find similar users.
  • Placing a third-party SDK in your app that combines user data from your app with user data from other developers’ apps to target advertising or measure advertising efficiency, even if you don’t use the SDK for these purposes. For example, using an analytics SDK that repurposes the data it collects from your app to enable targeted advertising in other developers’ apps.

The following use cases are not considered tracking, and do not require user permission through the AppTrackingTransparency framework:

  • When user or device data from your app is linked to third-party data solely on the user’s device and is not sent off the device in a way that can identify the user or device.
  • When the data broker with whom you share data uses the data solely for fraud detection, fraud prevention, or security purposes. For example, using a data broker solely to prevent credit card fraud.
  • When the data broker is a consumer reporting agency and the data is shared with them for purposes of (1) reporting on a consumer’s creditworthiness, or (2) obtaining information on a consumer’s creditworthiness for the specific purpose of making a credit determination.

Using the AppTrackingTransparency Framework

To request permission to track the user and access the device’s advertising identifier, use the AppTrackingTransparency framework. You must also include a purpose string in the system prompt that explains why you’d like to track the user. Unless you receive permission from the user to enable tracking, the device’s advertising identifier value will be all zeros and you may not track them as described above.

While you can display the AppTrackingTransparency prompt whenever you choose, the device’s advertising identifier value will only be returned once you present the prompt and the user grants permission. Use the purpose string to explain what this data will be used for to help the user understand what they’re opting in to share. If the user allows apps to request to track, but has turned tracking off for your app, you can ask the user to change their preference for your app by providing a shortcut to Settings where they can change the tracking permission.

The ID for Vendors (IDFV), may be used for analytics across apps from the same content provider. The IDFV may not be combined with other data to track a user across apps and websites owned by other companies unless you have been granted permission to track by the user.

For more information, see:
App Tracking Transparency
Human Interface Guidelines
AdSupport Framework

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I gate functionality on agreeing to allow tracking, or incentivize users to agree to allow tracking in the app tracking transparency prompt?

No, per the App Store Review Guidelines: 3.2.2 (vi).

Can I explain to users why I would like permission to track them before I show the tracking permission prompt?

Yes, so long as you are transparent to users about your use of the data in your explanation. Per the App Store Review Guidelines: 5.1.1 (iv), apps must respect the user’s permission settings and not attempt to manipulate, trick, or force people to consent to unnecessary data access.

If I have not received permission from a user via the tracking permission prompt, can I use an identifier other than the IDFA (for example, a hashed email address or hashed phone number) to track that user?

No. You will need to receive the user’s permission through the AppTrackingTransparency framework to track that user.

If a user provides permission for tracking via a separate process on our website, but declines permission in the app tracking transparency prompt, can I track that user across apps and websites owned by other companies?

Developers must get permission via the app tracking transparency prompt for data that’s collected in the app and used for tracking. Data collected separately, outside of the app and not related to the app, is not in scope.

Can I fingerprint or use signals from the device to try to identify the device or a user?

No. Per the Apple Developer Program License Agreement, you may not derive data from a device for the purpose of uniquely identifying it. Examples of user or device data include, but are not limited to: properties of a user’s web browser and its configuration, the user’s device and its configuration, the user’s location, or the user’s network connection. Apps that are found to be engaging in this practice, or that reference SDKs (including but not limited to Ad Networks, Attribution services and Analytics) that are, may be rejected from the App Store.

If I share data with a consumer reporting agency to conduct fraud checks, and separately share data with them as part of a credit check or for credit reporting purposes, do I need permission to track?

No. You do not need permission from the user when a data broker uses the data shared with them solely for fraud detection or prevention or security purposes. You also do not need permission from the user when sharing data with a consumer reporting agency and the data is shared with them for purposes of (1) reporting on a consumer’s creditworthiness, or (2) obtaining information on a consumer’s creditworthiness for the specific purpose of making a credit determination.

Do I need to use the AppTrackingTransparency framework to get user permission to use third-party deep-linking or deferred deep-linking tools?

Yes. If your application uses any third-party services that pass unique identifiers or create a shared identity of the user between applications from different companies for ad targeting, ad measurement or sharing with a data broker, your app will need to request permission from the user using the AppTrackingTransparency framework.

I have integrated an SDK from another company. Am I responsible for the data collection and tracking of users of my app by that company?

Yes. Developers are responsible for all code included in their apps. If you are unsure about the data collection and tracking practices of code used in your app that you didn’t write, we suggest contacting the developer of the SDK.

I have integrated single sign-on functionality provided by another company. Am I responsible for the data collection and tracking practices of that company?

Yes. Developers are responsible for all code included in their app, including single sign-on (SSO) functionality provided by third parties. If the user will be subject to tracking as a result of SSO functionality included in your app, you must use the app tracking transparency prompt to obtain permission from that user first.

What kind of company constitutes a data broker?

Data brokers are defined by law in some jurisdictions. In general, a data broker is a company that regularly collects and sells, licenses, or otherwise discloses to third parties the personal information of particular end-users with whom the business does not have a direct relationship.

What identifiers or data are governed by the "tracking" policy?

Any user or device level identifier that is used to join data from your app with data from third parties (including SDKs used in your app) for purposes of advertising or ad measurement or sharing with a data broker. This includes, but is not limited to, the device’s advertising identifier, session ID, fingerprint IDs, and device graph identifiers. If your app receives or shares any of these identifiers for the above listed purposes, you must use the AppTrackingTransparency framework to obtain user consent.

If tracking occurs within a webview inside an app, do I need to use the AppTrackingTransparency prompt?

Yes. If you are using a webview for app functionality, it should be treated the same way as native functionality in your app, unless you are enabling the user to navigate the open web.

What OS versions require AppTrackingTransparency permission to access the value of the IDFA?

To access the value of the IDFA for users on iOS/iPadOS version 14.5 and later, you will first need to receive permission from the user through the AppTrackingTransparency prompt. For additional guidance on tracking, please refer to App Store Review Guidelines: 5.1.1 (iv).

Attributing App Installations

SKAdNetwork allows registered advertising networks to attribute app installations to a particular campaign by receiving a signed signal from Apple. This enables them to verify how many installations occurred from an advertisement and measure which campaigns are most effective, while maintaining user privacy.

Advertising networks using SKAdNetwork 2.0 or later also have access to Source App information, which identifies the specific app from which an installation occurred. This allows advertising networks who run advertisements on apps they don’t own to identify which app should be credited with initiating the download. SKAdNetwork 2.0 also identifies redownloads, which helps advertising networks measure the success of reengagement campaigns. SKAdNetwork 3.0 or later will also support multiple postbacks on iOS 14.6 and iPadOS 14.6, which allows advertising networks to see when an advertisement they ran was a runner-up to an app installation that occurred. If you’re an advertising network and would like to use SKAdNetwork for managing advertising attribution, contact us.

SKAdNetwork supports view-through attribution for advertisement formats, such as video, audio, and interactive advertisements. This allows you to display your choice of advertising formats and measure which creatives are most effective, while preserving user privacy.

Learn more about using SKAdNetwork

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to ask for user permission to track in order to use SKAdNetwork?

No. SKAdNetwork allows advertising networks to attribute app installations while preserving user privacy, so you do not need to use the AppTrackingTransparency prompt. However, if your app includes any instances of tracking, you will need to receive the user’s permission through the AppTrackingTransparency framework to track them or access their device’s advertising identifier. See Asking Permission to Track for more information.

What kind of conversion events does SKAdNetwork support?

Up to 64 signals of user value can be shared with your advertising network on an SKAdNetwork install notification. See updateConversionValue(_:) for more information.

Can I use multiple advertising networks for the purposes of SKAdNetwork?

Yes. You can use multiple advertising networks as long as they are registered with SKAdNetwork. Contact your advertising networks of choice to understand whether they are integrated with SKAdNetwork.

How does SKAdNetwork attribute installs?

An app installation is attributed when a user launches the advertised app. If a user saw more than one advertisement, the attribution will go to the most recent interaction with the highest fidelity. For more information, see verifying an installation postback.

What does SKAdNetwork do to minimize advertising fraud?

All transactions that are tied to an SKAdNetwork event are cryptographically signed and verified by Apple in order to prove the postback is attached to a known conversion event by Apple. The postback also includes a unique transaction ID (a unique identifier for a transaction such as a purchase or redownload) in order to detect replays of valid conversion events.

Can I use SKAdNetwork in conjunction with fingerprinting?

No. Per the Apple Developer Program License Agreement, you may not derive data from a device for the purpose of uniquely identifying it. Examples of user or device data include, but are not limited to: properties of a user’s web browser and its configuration, the user’s device and its configuration, the user’s location, or the user’s network connection. Apps referencing SDKs, including but not limited to Ad Networks, Attribution services, and Analytics, that are found to be engaging in this practice may be rejected from the App Store.

Available in iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5

Private Click Measurement

Apple supports Private Click Measurement for iOS and iPadOS apps, in addition to websites. Advertising networks can now measure the effectiveness of advertisement clicks within iOS or iPadOS apps that navigate to a website. This information can be used to understand which advertisements drive conversions (such as purchases or signups) — while maintaining user privacy.

Learn more about Private Click Measurement