IDFA is an acronym that stands for “ID (or identifier) for advertisers.” IDFA is the standard which Apple adopted that allows mobile advertising networks to track users and serve them targeted ads. Although the IDFA is unique to each iOS device, iOS users have the ability to reset their IDFA as well as control settings which grant more or less access to advertisers.
Prior to the release of iOS 6, Apple allowed developers access to a Unique Device Identifier, UDID, which allowed developers to track a user across multiple apps. Although the UDID provided immense value in properly tracking advertisements and authenticating across multiple apps, third-party app softwares started harvesting these UDIDs into databases and, in some cases, selling them. The U.S. Congress ultimately decided that this violated a person’s right to privacy, and Apple ultimately had to restrict app access to the device’s UDID.
With the death of the UDID came the creation of the IDFA. IDFA is similar to the UDID with a few small exceptions:
This allows device users to have more control over how app activity is being tracked, and gives them the option to opt out if they so please. Even with these precautions, Apple still audits app submissions to check for legal IDFA usage. It is important that you adhere to the guidelines for submitting a mobile app that uses IDFAs to the App Store.
Hopefully by now, you have a better understanding of what each of these options mean and why they exist.
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