KEY POINTS

  • Apple's ATT measures give users an option to allow or deny apps from tracking them
  • The company has issued a list of do’s and don’ts for app developers 
  • Developers won't be allowed to present the system alert in a modified format

Tech giant Apple just gave an ultimatum to all iPhone and iPad app developers: quit offering incentives to enable online tracking or get kicked off the App Store.

Apparently, Apple thinks app developers could try to find a way around the current App Tracking Transparency implementation to snoop on users, MacRumors reported. ATT is a framework that requires apps to ask for the users’ permission before tracking them across other websites and platforms

Apple believes that some developers could offer incentives to make users to enable apps to track their online activities for advertising purposes. Among the list of tricks that the Cupertino-based tech giant sees is the outright bribery of an Apple user, Apple Insider reported.

Developers could also withhold or limit the application’s functionality. They may make the apps unusable until the users permit tracking of their online activities. Apple also sees the tendency that developers may mimic the system pop-up in order to have a bigger chance that a user will click the Allow button instead of the other option.

In light of the new ATT measures and to ensure that there are no irregularities when a user enables tracking, Apple has published a list of guidelines that developers need to follow.

Under Accessing User Data section of the Apple Developers’ Site’s Human Interface Guidelines, the company gave out a list of instructions on what the developers need to consider before submitting an app to the app store.

App Store app developers must present a system alert pop-up asking the users permission to be tracked or not. The pop-up should come in a specific format such as “Ask App Not To Track” followed by “Allow.”

Developers are not allowed to present the system alert in a modified format. An example is highlighting the Allow option making it stand out from the rest.

They are not allowed to display a pre-alert message showing the system alert’s functionality. They may only display a pre-alert message containing an explanation on why a user should allow tracking

“A custom messaging screen that takes advantage of such behaviors to influence choices will lead to rejection by App Store Review,” Apple said.

Several large app developers have joined in a coalition to press for changes to the operations of online marketplaces like Apple's App store Several large app developers have joined in a coalition to press for changes to the operations of online marketplaces like Apple's App store Photo: GETTY IMAGES / Michael Short