Apple has now taken another step to push app publishers to use its preferred ad tracking option, the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), with the debut of the iOS 7 beta. Confirming what many have suspected, Apple is eliminating an alternative option involving tracking by MAC addresses. This method had sprung up following a change to Apples Developer Documentation in 2011, announcing its intention to end developers reliance on the unique identifier known as the UDID.
It’s been a long time since Apple announced it would begin phasing out developer access to the UDID on iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad something which at first led to some confusion in the industry. Over the years, developers had learned to use the identifier for advertising purposes, and as a way to store data about their users. But the method raised privacy concerns, since the number is tied to each individual device and cannot be removed, cleared, or controlled by end users.
Several alternatives soon appeared in the UDIDs place, each hoping to become the new default method. Many developers still use some these or just as likely, a combination of some these today.
Earlier this year, Apple began signaling again that the alternative it had in mind for the post-UDID world was its own when it began rejecting apps using cookie-tracking methods. Then in March, the company announced that it would no longer accept new applications or app updates that access UDIDs as of May 1, 2013.