iOS 14 Opt-in Rate: Behind the Numbers

By David Lundell, Head of Product Management, Flurry Analytics

Apple launched one of the most significant privacy policies in the mobile app economy with the release of iOS 14. iOS users are now directly in control over whether or not their behavior can be shared with other apps and third parties. iOS app developers are now required to request permission to track their users beyond the app in use. This change will impact the entire mobile ecosystem and create challenges for personalized advertising and attribution.

With the rollout of iOS 14.5, app developers face a choice: display the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) prompt or don’t track users at all. At Flurry we are tracking the opt-in rate: both overall and across only apps that have displayed the prompt. The high level findings:

  • The Opt-In rate across all apps has risen from 11% to 15% since the rollout of iOS 14.5.
  • The Opt-In rate across apps that have displayed the prompt has hovered around one-quarter of users.

Here are some insights that may not be obvious by looking at Opt-In Rate alone:

Opt-In Rate is only a slice of the picture

Apps in some categories have reported success requesting opt-in via the ATT prompt in bucket testing. But this misses the larger picture: with Apple restricting some devices from choice, and other users actively opting out in device settings, apps won’t even have the chance to prompt many users. We estimate that only 73% of users will be addressable by the prompt either because they have turned off the setting “Allow Apps to Request to Track” or because Apple has turned it off for them and disabled it. We derive this number by looking at apps that haven’t shown the prompt and finding 27% with Denied or Restricted status among active iOS 14+ users.

Most apps aren’t displaying the prompt

Over half (57%) of all app users on iOS 14+ still are in the Not Determined state. That means they haven’t yet been given the option by the app developer to opt in or opt out. More importantly, as of iOS 14.5, that means these users don’t have an IDFA and cannot be tracked according to Apple’s policy. These users are not reflected in the Flurry opt-in rate and many other publicly released opt-in rates.

iOS 14.5 has barely rolled out 

Prior to the release of 14.5, we demonstrated how iOS version rollouts vary over time. We predicted that Apple would slow roll iOS 14.5 and that’s exactly what they’ve done. iOS 14.5 and 14.5.1 are only on about 16% of iOS devices worldwide as of May 20, which likely correlates to more tech-savvy users who explicitly sought out the upgrade rather than wait for Apple to push it. That means the industry hasn’t yet been impacted by the major change in iOS 14.5: users who haven’t explicitly granted permission to be tracked don’t have an IDFA and can’t be tracked.

With these insights in mind, here are some things to watch for in the weeks to come:

As the iOS 14.5 roll out accelerates, will apps displaying the prompt pick up?

Apps aren’t prompting in part because they don’t see an incentive. With the slow roll out of iOS 14.5, apps can still use the IDFA for unprompted users. As iOS 14.5 rolls out more widely—and Apple encourages further prompt rollouts in app store reviews—we expect to see the prompt displayed to more users in more apps.

When more apps start displaying the prompt, will users go to Settings and turn off prompting for all apps?

Most users in most apps haven’t yet been prompted. When that changes, annoyed users could go to Settings en masse and disallow “Request to Track” across all of their apps. This could drive the addressable prompt audience down from an already low 73% of users.

For attribution, how much will it matter?

Running campaigns with device-level attribution requires apps on both sides - publishers and advertisers - to get opt in. As Eric Seufert has pointed out, without critical mass on the publisher side, advertisers won’t be able to do granular attribution. While some advertisers have achieved decent opt-in rates on the prompt, opt in overall has been extremely low. If these trends hold, advertiser iOS attribution strategies must adjust.

As Apple continues the release of iOS 14.5 and developers are forced to finally present the prompt, we’ll continue to report on opt-in rates on our original blog post. Make sure you follow us on the Flurry Blog and on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest mobile insights.