Apple's privacy rules lead YouTube to seek explicit user consent for tracking

YouTube has announced that it will alter its location-tracking practice in line with Apple's new transparency framework
An undated image of the YouTube logo. — Pixabay
An undated image of the YouTube logo. — Pixabay

Apple users will soon be asked to give explicit consent to YouTube for tracking their activity across other websites and apps.

YouTube tracks user activity to suggest personalised ads and videos. However, new privacy policies issued by Apple compel applications to obtain explicit consent from users before tracking their activity.

Apple’s “App Tracking Transparency” (ATT) framework, unveiled in 2021, prioritizes user privacy and requires apps to get explicit consent before tracking user activity, significantly altering the digital marketing landscape.

To comply with Apple's policies, Google, along with several other companies, modified its tracking practices by removing the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) to avoid triggering the ATT prompt.

In line with this, YouTube will now issue iOS users a one-time prompt asking how they’d like their activity handled.

Users can choose the “allow” option, which permits YouTube to track their in-app activity along with data from other apps and websites to provide a more personalised video and ad experience.

Alternatively, users can select “Ask app not to track” to prevent their data from being linked to non-Google apps and websites, thereby reducing the accuracy of personalised ads while potentially seeing more repetitive suggestions.

This prompt will not appear on YouTube Premium and Child accounts.

Additionally, iOS users can alter their permissions from the Settings app: Privacy & Security > Tracking.

YouTube clarifies, "This setting does not affect the linking of activity on other Google apps (iOS and non-iOS) and websites with activity from non-Google apps and websites."

They further state, "This setting also does not affect the use of activity from the YouTube iOS app and other Google apps and websites to personalise ads, depending on your Google personalised ads choice."

This move aligns with YouTube’s effort to provide a more balanced and transparent experience for its users.

What is YouTube Premium?

YouTube Premium is a subscription-based service provided by YouTube that allows users to view ad-free content and play videos in the background. YouTube Music, another service, is included with the YouTube Premium membership.