Apple called its App Tracking Transparency framework one of the most impactful moves towards creating a more private ecosystem, but recent independent research shows that it is not really effective against third-party trackers and doesn’t block the transfer of personal or device data either. The core premise of the ATT framework was to offer users more transparency about their data, such as which apps collect information, what data they extract, and how it is shared. More importantly, each app was mandated to ask users explicitly about tracking via a pop-up notification.
In a study conducted by Lockdown Privacy — whose members are said to be ex-Apple engineers — App Tracking Transparency didn’t create any difference when it comes to disabling third-party trackers associated with an app and is minimally effective at blocking connection requests. As part of the research, the team selected ten top ranked apps on the App Store and monitored third-party tracking for each one under two scenarios — ATT enabled and ATT disabled. Apps like Grubhub, DoorDash and Peacock TV were found to have roughly the same number of active third-party trackers even when users enabled ATT. Another study earlier this year in June also arrived at a similar conclusion about the inefficacy of the ATT system.