iOS 5 is expected to be released in late September or early October of this year, and it comes with a ton of new features. Betas for the new iOS have come out almost every 2 weeks now and we can’t wait to see the final version. With all of these releases comes new features and new fixes to current bugs. However, one thing “fixed” in the most recent beta is that developers have a new way to track their users instead of your UDID, or Unique Device Identifier. How does it affect developers and you? Read on.
Most developers use this UDID to identify its users and keep track of what actions the users have taken in a specific app. Also, most mobile ad networks use the UDID to identify users and target ads to specific ones. App developers are now supposed to create their own UDID for their app to keep track of users, and may need to throw out all of their old data. The release notes read as follows:
Deprecated in iOS 5.0
An alphanumeric string unique to each device based on various hardware details. (read-only) (Deprecated in iOS 5.0. Instead, create a unique identifier specific to your app.)
How does this affect you, though? Well, privacy for one. If a developer had access to your UDID, they could track actions on your phone and if used incorrectly, could hone in on your location and messages. However, we are still not clear if Apple will also stop using the UDID. Apple’s own Game Center and iAds use the UDID to track it’s users and identify them as well.
The word Deprecated just means that Apple has come up with a new way to do things. It does not mean developers can no longer access that information, it just means Apple wants them to do it a different way. When I tested this, it only threw a compiler warning and let me continue to build my app. I’m assuming Apple will start to get rid of it slowly, but for now, at least all of us devs don’t need to panic. And as for users, you should be glad that Apple is starting to worry more about its user’s privacy, especially before things get out of hand.