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Quick Tip: Opt Out of iAd Data Collection

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It’s been a little over a week since Apple started rolling out iAd, its new advertisement feature for iOS 4. The first ads started to appear on July 1, and come from a variety of big-name companies including Disney (s DIS), Nissan (s NSANF) and AT&T (s att). However, for some, iAd brings up a privacy concern.

To make sure users only see ads which might interest them, Apple studies the data from their iPhones to see what the user does and doesn’t like. According to Rachel Pasqua, who is an agent working with Apple on iAds for her clients:

Apple knows what you’ve downloaded, how much time you spend interacting with applications and knows even what you’ve downloaded, don’t like and deleted.

While this is clever on Apple’s part, there are more than a few iPhone users who are bound to be worried about the safety of their information, especially after the hacking fiasco earlier this week. Luckily, Apple has provided a way to opt-out of this data collection.

As detailed in Apple’s Knowledge Base article, to opt-out, all you have to do is point your iPhone to You should see a “successful opt-out” message and a few bullet points giving you some information about the opt-out service. If not, Apple’s advice is to “wait a few hours and try again.”

This only works for devices running iOS 4 — you can’t opt-out on an iPad or on a desktop computer for example — and if you own more than one device, you have to opt-out on every device individually. Also note that opting-out doesn’t stop you from seeing any ads, it just stops Apple from collecting data about how you use your iPhone.

12 Responses to “Quick Tip: Opt Out of iAd Data Collection”

  1. Andrea.Chen

    After Google’s hacking fiasco at the beginning of this year on GMail and their illegal blunder in collecting user passwords and email text, is there any way I can opt out of their system from storing my private info?

    Oh, that’s right. Just don’t use it.

  2. PreShateCha

    Anyway to opt back in? Seems the iAds feature of tracking was so much nicer when the ads were specific to my interests. Now it’s just a random hot mess…

  3. +1 @Ray. If Apple uses my information to target more appropriate ads to me, isn’t this a good thing? We can either keep putting up with piles of spam, or finally move to a point where we’re receiving information that actually pertains to us.

  4. I have tried “opting out” numerous times. It tells me my device is not running iOS4, at which time I look down at my three week old iPhone 4. Does anyone have any ideas at what could be causing this?

  5. Behavior tracking is so common on the Internet for the service provider to provide better information (ads in this case) for customers. As long as they don’t disclose your information to 3rd party, there is nothing to worry in my opinion.