Apple’s cynical implementation of mobile Do-Not-Track

You may have heard that the new version of Apple’s mobile software includes a feature allowing you to limit tracking by advertisers when you use different sites and apps on your iPhone or iPad. In spirit, it is supposed to be like “Do Not Track,” the new feature being added to desktop browsers at the behest of the Federal Trade Commission, among other authorities.

Of course, any good idea can be ruined by a poor implementation. To see what I mean, take a look at what it takes to actually turn it on.

Most people would start their search with Settings icon, taking them to this screen.

Swipe down and you find “Privacy” — that’s promising.

Hmmm, nothing about ad choices or tracking here in the “Privacy” menu (although it is nice to see app-specific privacy settings in one place):

Back up to Settings, then eventually you might try the “About” tab:

This is where they tend to stick the copyright notices and version information.

Swipe all the way to the bottom of that screen, and you are rewarded with a choice for something about “Advertising.” No mention that this has to do with data collection or choices you can make, but tap through anyway.

And you are, finally, rewarded with your choice.

But you are left to wonder: Is this is the best that the world’s greatest design company can do when it comes to privacy choices? Does the FTC find this acceptable, or even meaningful?

One thing is for sure, if this is the future of Do Not Track on mobile devices, I would say the ad industry has nothing to be worried about.

How should have Apple designed Do Not Track?

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7 Responses to Apple’s cynical implementation of mobile Do-Not-Track

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  2. Jared says:

    I agree that it should’ve been placed under “Privacy” but maybe there’s a logical reason for hiding it so deep in the menus?

  3. Pingback: Turn this on if you have iOS 6, it’s totally in a hidden area. « Tom Simpson and the Raiders of the Lost Blog

  4. Pingback: Do Not Track arrives for mobile apps, courtesy of Apple and Google (really) | PrivacyChoice Blog

  5. Speaking as a longterm user experience and interface designer, there is no logical reason for making it so difficult to locate and control your privacy on a device. The only reason left is that you do not want the user’s 1st choice to be turning off tracking.

    One other comment, it continues to bother me that Apple has called this feature, “Limited Ad Tracking,” instead of “No Ad Tracking.” It sounds like a built in caveat, like they have their fingers crossed behind their backs.

  6. Pingback: What Apple’s privacy design team has been working so hard on | PrivacyChoice Blog

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