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Apple releases iPhone anti-tracking feature

Apple releases iPhone anti-tracking feature
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Apple released its long awaited anti-tracking tool for iPhones on Monday as part of its new operating system update. 

The iOS 14.5 update includes Apple's app-tracking Transparency Feature, which will require apps to ask users for permission before tracking them across the web. 

Apple has touted the update as a boost to user privacy.

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“Your information is for sale. You have become the product. That's why iPhone users will now be asked a single simple question — allow apps to track you or not,” a narrator says in a video Apple released Monday along with the launch of the feature. 

“Whatever you choose is up to you, but at Apple we believe you should have a choice,” the narrator adds. 

With the update, users will see a prompt asking them if they will allow each app to track their activity across other apps and websites. Users will be able to click “ask app not to track” or “allow.” 

Apple unveiled the feature over the summer and it was set to be released in September, but it was delayed amid backlash over the tool. 

Facebook has fiercely pushed back on the feature. The social media platform, which thrives off the sale of targeted ads, has branded the move as being harmful for small business. It's further fueled an ongoing feud between Facebook and Apple. 

The update, however, has been cheered by digital advocacy groups. 

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Ranking Digital Rights tweeted that the update is “huge” for privacy and human rights. The group was among civil and human rights groups that pushed Apple to release the feature amid the delays

Apple is still facing challenges over the feature. 

On Monday, shortly before the launch of the update, the German Advertising Federation filed an antitrust complaint with a German competition regulator arguing Apple is abusing its market power and violating antitrust law through the anti-tracking feature. 

In France, a competition watchdog last month rejected a similar challenge from advertising groups over Apple’s plans to release the update. The French watchdog said at the time the feature “did not appear as an abusive practice.”