How to limit ad tracking on your mobile device

Posted at 3:59 PM, Apr 22, 2019

Do you ever scroll through your social media feeds and see ads for items you just bought or were looking at online for yesterday?

That's called ad tracking, and for a lot of people, it's a privacy concern.

“Advertisers want to be able to create a profile about people so that they can target ads to them, because targeted ads are obviously way more effective than untargeted ads,” explains Alex Kilpatrick, co-founder of Blink Identity.

It’s all in an effort for advertisers to make money off of those browsing the internet.

Good news: you can limit the number of targeted ads you get!

Here's what you need to do on an iPhone:

  • Go to your Settings
  • Select Privacy
  • Scroll down to advertising
  • Make sure the Limit Ad Tracking option is ON (will appear green)

“It’s not going to change the ads that you see at all, but it’ll mean it won't be targeted, so you'll just see random ads,” says Kilpatrick.

When it comes to privacy, Apple and its advertisers track you not by name, but by an ID number. By the ID number, advertisers can study user behavior.

“The key thing to make all of this work in society is transparency,” says Kilpatrick. “If I am being tracked, I need to know I’m being tracked, have control over it and be able to turn it off,” Kilpatrick says.

Apple is transparent enough to let you see everything they've ever tracked you on. You can check that under Analytics in your Settings under Privacy. However, that data is all in code.