Apple might be tracking users’ App Store activity

 Security researchers and developers known as ‘Mysk’ have found that Apple keeps a log of how users interact with the App Store like the data that shows where users tapped on the screen and more. It is claimed that the tech company’s unusual shift from its privacy policy is related to the new App Store ad slots.

Apple - app store

In October, the company introduced more ad slots on the App Store’s “Today” tab and the “You Might Also Like” as an opportunity for developers to market their apps in more places and enhance their reach.

However, immediately after the launch of new ad slots, developers strongly objected to App Store advertising gambling apps in their App Store listings. A few prominent developers like  Simon Stovring and Macro Arment said that it was not okay for the tech giant to take money from gambling apps.

Apple receives users’ App Store data in real-time, raising privacy concerns

As per Mysk’s thread posted on Twitter, iOS sends data of users’ every tap in the App Store to Apple in real-time via a JSON file even when “sharing analytics and personalized recommendations are switched off.”

Apple - App Store

Apple is a strong advocate of protecting users’ privacy and calls it a “fundamental human right“. To prevent invasive tracking, the company introduced the App Tracking Transparency feature on iOS 14.5 which mandates apps to seek users’ permission before tracking their online activity through third-party apps and websites.

Therefore, the discovery of Apple’s tracking users’ App Store activity without their consent and knowledge raises several privacy concerns.

The level of details shown in the video is also too much even if the user has consented to sharing analytics data with Apple. As the title of John Gruber’s post reads: App Store Ads Gone Wild.

The researchers used an iOS device running on iOS 14.6 for the test and they believe that iOS 16 sends similar data to the company, “every tap and impression you make in the app and every app you view in the store”. It is possible that the company might be making more compromises to further grow App Store revenue.

About the Author

Addicted to social media and in love with iPhone, started blogging as a hobby. And now it's my passion for every day is a new learning experience. Hopefully, manufacturers will continue to use innovative solutions and we will keep on letting you know about them.