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How to hide your iPhone’s unique name from apps (and why you should)

By Jackie Morse | 8 February 2021

MASHABLE — Your iPhone has trouble keeping secrets. Thankfully, there’s something you can do about it.

What you do on the internet, what apps you download, and, often, where you go are all data points that can be linked to an iPhone’s so-called advertising identifier (Android phones have a similar Advertising ID). Combined with commercially available databases, this unique alphanumeric string can be enough for third parties to tie an iPhone’s actions back to the real name of its owner.

We were reminded of the real-world consequences of this Friday, when the New York Times published an article exposing the movements of individuals involved in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. The newspaper obtained a data set that linked phone location data to advertising identifiers, which, combined with other available databases, allowed the paper to link that location data to real people.

To deny apps access to your phone’s advertising identifier:

  1. Go to “Settings”
  2. Tap “Privacy”
  3. Select “Tracking”
  4. Disable the option that says “Allow Apps to Request to Track”

Limit how you can be tracked on your iPhone.

That’s it. […]


The New York Times (via WaybackMachine) — “They Stormed the Capitol. Their Apps Tracked Them.: Times Opinion was able to identify individuals from a trove of leaked smartphone location data.”


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