Disable iPhone iOS6 User Tracking

(Mark Huffman Consumer Affairs) Apple's new mobile operating system, iOS 6, has lots of new features that owners of the new iPhone 5 really like. But there's one Apple didn't mention when it introduced the phone last month.

Back in 2011 privacy advocates were unhappy when they learned that Apple and many apps makers were collecting information about users' mobile surfing habits and sharing it with advertisers. Now, apparently, the practice has returned in iOS 6.

The new tracking system is fairly simple. It employs a unique identifier for your device called an IDFA. It's less invasive than the previous version because the IDFA only links a particular device with certain online activity.

Recent data breach

The previous system, which employed an ID number called a UDID, is still causing some concern. Just last month ConsumerAffairs reported that hackers stole the UDIDs of 12 million consumers. The hackers said the files contained user names, name of device, type of device, Apple Push Notification service tokens, zip codes, cellphone numbers, addresses, etc.

Another important difference between the UDID and IDFA is the IDFA can be turned off. If you want it off, however, you'll have to do it yourself because it was turned on, by default, when the operating system was loaded on your device.

Our friends at Sophos Security software provide this simple guide to turning off the tracking system:

  • Click on Settings.
  • Click on General to access the General Settings.
  • Click About
  • Scroll down and click on Advertising.
  • Set Limit Ad Tracking to "ON"

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