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Apple's latest iPhone software update will make it a lot harder for advertisers to track you

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Albert Colburn
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Apple's latest mobile software update, iOS 10, rolls out on Tuesday, September 13, and with it comes a new setting that will give users much stronger protection against advertiser tracking.The current iPhone operating system, iOS 9, already features a "limit ad tracking" option that users can toggle on or off by going to Settings Privacy Advertising.The setting will look the same in iOS 10, but it will act a lot differently.As the Future of Privacy Forum explains in detail, advertisers can currently target specific groups of iPhone users such as 18-34-year-old males in London interested in football , identified using their unique ID number, which is known as an IDFA Identifier for Advertising .With iOS 9, if a user selected "limit ad tracking,"advertisers would not be able to target this user based on their IDFA as they were considered to have opted out of what is known as "behavioral advertising" which is when your browsing behavior determines the kinds of ads you see online .However, some ad tech companies still targeted those users based on their location or used the IDFA to help them track that user as they switched between devices.

Some ad tech firms also used the IDFA to help measure the effectiveness of their advertising.

iOS 10 is going to make that a lot harder.Now, when users opt to "limit ad traffic," their IDFA will simply be represented as "00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000."

Ad tech companies will have no way of identifying those users — even when their only purpose of doing so was to ensure they weren't serving them too many of the same ads known as "frequency capping" , measuring whether ads led to sales, or preventing advertising fraud.For consumers, this element of the software update may well be seen as a victory for user privacy.But some people within the advertising community have some concerns.Some people think the change will force ad tech companies to use more "intrusive" tracking methodsWriting for AdExchanger, Alan Chapell, president at law firm Chapell and Associates, said:"The issues I see with this change is that it breaks legitimate advertising models, forces companies to use more intrusive tracking methods and doesn t necessarily improve user privacy.

"As far as "more intrusive tracking methods" are concerned, mobile app marketing tracker Kochava has an idea.

Writing on its website, the company says it plans to use a "fingerprint-based matching solution" when the "limit ad tracking" option is selected.

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Albert Colburn
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