How to use App Tracking Transparency to stop apps from collecting your data and location on Apple devices
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  • Post published:30/07/2021
  • Post last modified:30/07/2021
  • App Tracking Transparency (ATT) forces apps on Apple devices to ask your permission before tracking your activity across other apps and websites.
  • Many apps will track things like your current location or your buying habits without asking permission; opting in to ATT will reduce apps’ ability to do this.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Have you ever looked at a product on your computer and later have ads for it show up in a social media app on your phone? Do the ads appear targeted toward you and know where you are? 

This is because you are being tracked by the various apps you use on your smartphone. This controversial practice often occurs without your permission. With iOS 14.5, Apple made good on a promise to allow its users to opt out of this practice with App Tracking Transparency.

App Tracking Transparency, explained

App Tracking Transparency (ATT) requires apps to ask permission to track your activity across other apps and websites. This is especially important since the combination of these apps and websites create a strikingly detailed profile of how you spend your time online, and how you use your smartphone.

Now that Apple has included ATT in iOS 14.5 and the corresponding generational updates for other Apple devices, you can keep track of which apps and companies are tracking you.

How to enable App Tracking Transparency

Once your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV has been updated to iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, or tvOS 14.5 or later, you should automatically have App Tracking Transparency turned on.

Once enabled, ATT has a pop-up appear when you first use an app. The pop-up will ask if you want the app to track your activity across other apps or websites. 

If you get tired of the apps letting you know who’s tracking you or asking for permissions, you can turn off ATT. 

1. Open the Settings app on your device.

2. Scroll down and select Privacy. On tvOS devices, select General before Privacy

3. Tap on Tracking, toward the top.

On the “Privacy” page, go to “Tracking.”
Ryan Ariano/Insider

4. Tap the button switch next to Allow Apps to Request to Track to turn the feature on or off — when it’s on, the switch will be green. 

If you don’t want apps to ask to track you, you can turn off the feature.
Ryan Ariano/Insider

5. The apps that have asked your permission to track you will also show up on this screen. You can turn on or off which apps track your activities by tapping the button next to each. 

How to check what data your apps collect

You can find out what data your apps are collecting through an app’s page in the App Store. When you find the app you want to check out, click on it and scroll down. Toward the bottom you will find App Privacy, which shows what data that app collects. Some apps might surprise you with how much of your personal information they track.

You can see what data certain apps collect from you in the Apple App Store.
Ryan Ariano/Insider

Why turning off tracking for some apps might be disabled

Sometimes the App Tracking Transparency option may be grayed out, meaning you can’t turn it on. There are three situations in which this will be the case.

  • If you created your Apple ID in the last three days, the option to toggle ATT will be grayed out.
  • If a child with a child account or under the age of 18 is signed in on the device, the toggle will be grayed out.
  • If your Apple ID uses a profile that limits tracking or is managed by an educational institution, the toggle will be grayed out.

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