Apple to start implementing new app privacy notifications in the coming weeks

Apple Inc said on Wednesday that in the coming weeks it will start enforcing a new privacy notification rule that digital advertising companies such as Facebook Inc have warned will hurt their sales.

Apple has said the notices will become mandatory when its iOS 14.5 operating system becomes available in the coming weeks, although it did not give a specific date. One-off notifications will force the app developer to request a user’s permission before the app tracks activities “on other companies’ apps and websites.”

Experts in the digital advertising industry said the warning could cause many users to deny permission. Apple announced the move last June, but said in September it would delay the change to give digital advertisers time to adjust. Some developers are already posting the notice on a voluntary basis.

Apple said it was providing developers with alternative advertising tools before the change. A tool allows advertisers who serve app installation ads to see how many people have installed an app after the ad campaign without disclosing information about individual users.

Another tool called private click management allows advertisers to measure when a user clicks on an ad in an app and is redirected to a web page, but without revealing data about the individual user. Although the tools are intended for use by software developers, Apple added information about them to one of its consumer privacy guides on Wednesday.

Facebook said in December that it planned to display the pop-up notification because it didn’t want Apple iPhone users to lose access to its apps.