Apple released a whole bunch of updates last week across its entire ecosystem of operating systems including iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. Today, the company has begun the rollout of minor updates (iOS 14.5.1, iPadOS 14.5.1, and macOS 11.3.1) that do not add any significant new features. However, all three of them are of critical importance because they patch a vulnerability that may have been exploited, which is why you should install them on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac as soon as possible.
Apple mentions that the updates address a memory corruption issue that could be exploited to remotely execute malicious code. “Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited,” says the release note.
Additionally, the update also addresses an issue that kept users from receiving App Tracking Transparency prompts from certain apps. These prompts, which started appearing after the release of iOS 14.5, allow an app to explicitly ask for users’ permission whether they want their activity to be tracked for serving them targeted ads. Apple has made it clear that all apps must ask for users’ permission, and those that don’t follow these norms might get kicked off the App Store.
What does Apple mean by apps tracking users’ activity? “Tracking refers to the act of linking user or device data collected from your app with user or device data collected from other companies’ apps, websites, or offline properties for targeted advertising or advertising measurement purposes. Tracking also refers to sharing user or device data with data brokers,” explains the company.
So, if you don’t want an app to track your activity for showing you personalized ads, you can simply opt out of it. However, each app will have a chance to explain why they want to collect your data so that you can better understand and make a decision.