Apple Blocks Updates To China's App Tracking Transparency Workaround

07 July

Following Apple's retaliation, Chinese attempts to circumvent app tracking transparency guidelines have been effectively thwarted. Developers are no longer required to ask permission to track the IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) code that is unique to each iPhone, thanks to the introduction of App Tracking Transparency. A Chinese way to circumvent Apple's restrictions seems to have fallen out of favor, however.

According to initial reports, CAID allows Apple applications to use IDFA, even if the user denies it. In particular, ByteDance, ATT's parent company, and Tencent, which are regional tech giants, scrutinized the China-backed system as a threat to ATT's functioning.

Despite being able to bypass Apple's system and associated policies that prevented anyone from tracking any device in alternative ways, CAID appears to be a lesser threat than in the past. Apple responded to the privacy threat, according to the Financial Times.

As soon as the CAID reports surfaced, Apple appeared to retaliate by blocking applications that added CAID support to software updates, preventing them from being distributed on the App Store. Retaliation led to CAID losing support and effectively-being arrested.

The effort appeared to have the backing of the China Advertising Association and China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, as well as large tech companies in the region. CAID may have had government support, or the companies participating in CAID may have known that it violated Apple's policy.

According to some spokespersons, Apple approved CAID, but it was not approved. "Active communication" was reported to be ongoing between Apple and the CAA.

As a result, China's tech giants had to abide by Apple's rules, which turned out to be a victory for Apple and consumers' privacy alike.

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