Washington Post has discovered that several popular apps send information that can be used to track users even if they have declined tracking or turned it off completely in iOS settings.
Among the apps is, for example, the game Subway Surfers, which according to the newspaper sends 29 different information about the user’s device to the advertising agencies Chartboost and Vungle.
Among the tasks are those that in themselves can not track you, but together with many other tasks can build a digital “fingerprint” of your device. This applies, for example, to the device name, region settings, operator, activated keyboards and accessory settings.
Some tasks seem to be more or less useless because they vary so much from time to time, such as the current brightness of the screen and the battery level.
Chartboost, owned by Zynga, has not answered Washington Post’s questions. Vungle says that information about the region and which unit you have is sent to be able to display advertising in the right language and with the right size for that particular device. But the company does not provide an answer as to what, for example, the device’s name or current battery level may be of practical use.
Other companies go even further and openly show that they have technologies to circumvent iOS tracking settings. Appsflyer and Kochava have simple settings for enabling data collection that can track individual devices. Both say that the technology is there for developers who have several apps and their own websites and want to track users between them – something that is allowed by Apple’s rules – but it is the developers’ responsibility not to abuse it.