Apple may be a $2 trillion dollar company that makes some of the most sought-after products anywhere, but that doesn’t mean it’s not always looking for new sources of revenue. And it appears to have found it: ads.
Apple has recently begun running display ads in its News and Stocks apps, and it doesn’t matter if you subscribe to News+ or not. You’ll still see ads In the News app’s Today tab and Stocks’ news feed even if they have the “Subscriber Edition” label. Apple is using its own advertising platform to deliver the ads, which are obvious but not terribly intrusive and marked with a small “Ad” in the lower right corner. We received ads for Motley Fool and Brilliant Earth jewelry while writing this article.
Apple says the platform does not track users and is thus not part of the App Tracking Transparency pop-up. Apple’s Advertising terms state that the platform “is designed to protect your privacy and does not follow you across apps and websites owned by other companies. That “other companies” bit is key: According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple “uses data from its other services and your Apple account to decide which ads to serve.”
That’s likely to rankle third-party app developers, who have been struggling with lost revenue since Apple launched the ATT system in iOS 14.5. Major developers such as FaceBook have blamed Apple for billions of in lost revenue due to the inability to track uses outside of their own apps. Apple’s compliance is something of a loophole since they own numerous apps and services that are preinstalled on every iPhone.
However, while there’s no Do Not Track toggle, users can turn off personalized ads on their iPhone by heading over to the Apple Advertising tab in the Privacy & Security settings on the iPhone. That won’t turn them off, it’ll only make them more generalized.
Gurman speculates that the ads, which can also be seen in the App Store’s Today tab, will be coming to Maps next and “digital storefronts like Apple Books and Apple Podcasts.” However, he doesn’t think it will be a repeat of the failed iAd system that served up ads for third-party apps on the iPhone.