One of the lesser known features of iOS 6 is its ability to opt users out of targeted advertising. This is great, but don’t expect to see results instantaneously as it will take a while for the new “Advertising Identifier” number to roll out across advertising networks. In the mean time, you’ll probably still see ads that are targeted towards what you browse on your phone.
While the concept of a ‘do not track’ feature has been around on web browsers for a while, this is the first time that a mobile operating system has incorporated it. This is a progressive move by Apple, considering only Internet Explorer and Firefox support “do not track” at the moment. Google Chrome will include this feature in a future update.
Here’s how to opt out of targeted advertising by enabling the ‘Limit Ad Tracking’ feature in iOS 6.
The process is quite simple but the option is buried in the Settings.
Within settings, navigate to ‘General’ and then ‘About.’
Scroll all the way to the bottom and you’ll see ‘Advertising.’ Click on that and you’ll be taken to a simple toggle to enable ‘Limit Ad Tracking.” On the bottom, there’s a tiny link that will explain exactly what enabling ‘Limited Ad Tracking’ does. It reads:
“iOS 6 introduces the Advertising Identifier, a non-permanent, non-personal, device identifier, that advertising networks will use to give you more control over advertisers’ ability to use tracking methods. If you choose to limit ad tracking, advertising networks using the Advertising Identifier may no longer gather information to serve you targeted ads. In the future all advertising networks will be required to use the Advertising Identifier. However, until advertising networks transition to using the Advertising Identifier you may still receive targeted ads from other networks.”
Personally, I don’t mind targeted advertising. I’d rather get ads that are relevant to my interests than to get ads that are completely random. However, I understand why someone may not feel comfortable with giving advertisers so much information about themselves. In any case, it’s great to see Apple pioneering a ‘do not track’ feature in their mobile operating system. Hopefully other companies like Google and Microsoft will follow suit.