Apple Inc is planning to release a new way for mobile app developers to track who uses their software, according to people briefed on Apple’s plans, the company’s latest attempt to balance developers’ appetite for targeting data with consumers’ unease over how it is used.
The new tool, which could be detailed in the coming weeks, aims to better protect user privacy than existing approaches, these people said.
It comes after Apple last summer rattled the mobile industry by saying it would stop allowing app makers to use a unique identifier embedded in iPhones and iPads to track users across different apps. So far, the company hasn’t aggressively enforced that policy.
Many mobile companies rely on what is called the Unique Device Identifier, or UDID, to serve ads and gather data—like location and preferences—as people move between apps. But some privacy advocates argued that the string of numbers, which are anonymous, could be coupled with enough data to identify individuals.