KEY POINTS

  • ATT allows users to prevent apps from tracking their online activities
  • It is part of Apple’s effort to be recognized as the platform of privacy
  • Several users reported their tracking options were grayed out 

On April 27, Apple launched the iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5 and tvOS 14.5. Along with the update came Apple’s latest feature dubbed the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) that provided added protection to iPhone and iPad users.

ATT gives users the option to allow or prevent any application from tracking their online activities for targeted advertising purposes. The feature is part of the company’s effort to be recognized as the platform of privacy Tech Xplore reported.

Every application in the App Store will now provide users with the option to be tracked or not. Upon opening an app, they will be prompted to choose from the “Ask App Not to Track” and the “Allow” options. Users can also choose to completely disable tracking by heading over to the Privacy setting, and turning off the "Allow Apps to Request to Track" option. 

However, after updating their devices to iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5 and tvOS 14.5, several Apple customers found the tracking option in their iPhones and iPads was grayed out, MacRumors reported, which disabled apps from tracking their activities.

Some users found it mysterious their tracking option was grayed out or disabled after the update, 9to5 mac reported. When the tracking option is grayed out or disabled, the device automatically interprets it as though the user clicked the “Ask App Not To Track” option.

Apple previously gave out possible scenarios that toggle off the tracking option by default through a support document.

Apple said the tracking option will automatically disable or gray out when the owner of the Apple ID signed in is 18 years old or younger. The tracking option is also disabled when a signed-in Apple account in the device is less than three days old or when it is managed by an educational institution.

Enhanced privacy in Apple's latest operating system update has sparked a major rift with Facebook and other tech rivals Enhanced privacy in Apple's latest operating system update has sparked a major rift with Facebook and other tech rivals Photo: AFP / Josh Edelson

Yet, several users reported their tracking options were grayed out even when the owner of the Apple ID is above 18. Other affected device owners also claimed their accounts did not fall under any of the conditions mentioned in the support document.

Meanwhile, some users suspect the auto toggle off with the tracking option has something to do with Personalized Ads settings. This is because they discovered devices with Personalized Ads turned on did not have irregularity with the tracking option after the iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 update.