Apple Is Found Tracking All User Activity While Using The App Store, In Real Time

Apple, money

Apple is an advocate privacy. But it seems that the "privacy" it is trying to promote is not the privacy people expected from the tech giant.

At least on Apple's App Store, where developers and security researchers who identify themselves as "Mysk" discovered that the company may be able to keep track to everything users tapped and typed. The two have revealed that iOS can send Apple a detailed log of how users interact while using the App Store app.

According to the developers, the company has been tracking users’ actions within the App Store since the release of iOS 14.6 in May 2021, which is apparently a month after Apple launches App Tracking Transparency with iOS 14.5.

Even though Apple is able to claim that the collected data is not shared with third parties, this is still controversial, since Apple has been creating barriers to make it harder for everyone outside of its own to track iOS users.

And according to Mysk, App Store data is sent to Apple even when the Personalized Ads option is turned off, which means that it's an apparent direct contradiction of Apple’s own description of how the privacy protection works.

While Apple has yet to provide an official explanation as to how its uses this data, but it seems that the company is tracking whatever users are doing when they browse the App Store.

Many started raising privacy concerns about the App Store, following Apple's decision to show more ads.

Previously developers could only promote their apps in App Store Search, but with the change, they can also pay to show their apps on app pages and in the Today tab.

It’s worth noting that since Apple started offering ads on the App Store, developers have since been given access to some statistics about how their ads are performing.

And this tracking is certainly beneficial for those developers who pay to have their ads shown on the App Store.

As shown in the video below, the usage data includes details about where the user taps on the screen.

This information is sent in real time to Apple via a JSON file.

It's also worth noting that soon after the new ad placements were made available, many users criticized Apple for showing irrelevant or ethically questionable content, such as casino and dating apps.

The company responded by temporarily suspended the ads for these apps.

Read: Following The Release Of IOS 14.5, Many Advertisers Flee To Android