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Apple said to nix apps using 'cookie tracking'

In what might be a push for its own Advertising Identifier technology, the software giant is said to be rejecting apps that use "cookie tracking" from its App Store.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
Apple is said to be rejecting apps that use "cookie tracking" from its App Store. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Apple may be on the way to controlling more of how advertisers get user information from mobile devices.

According to TechCrunch, unnamed industry sources are saying that Apple's App Review team is denying apps that use "cookie tracking." This could be a signal that the company is going full force into its own Advertising Identifier technology.

Theoretically, the way cookie tracking works on mobile is similar to desktop: a cookie saves data and information on users' browsing history that can be used later by the app or Web site. According to TechCrunch, it was introduced as an alternative to unique device identifier (UDID) tracking, which picked up more user data than most people were comfortable with.

Although cookie tracking was able to quell most privacy fears, Apple still introduced its Advertising Identifier technology with the debut of iOS 6 last September. According to Apple's "About" page on the technology, it is a "non-permanent, non-personal device identifier, that advertising networks will use to give you more control over advertisers' ability to use tracking methods."

Along with the Advertising Identifier, the company also launched a "Limit Ad Tracking" tool. This tool, which is in the iOS 6 general settings menu, lets users prevent advertisers from hitting them with targeted ads.

With Apple allegedly rejecting apps that use cookie tracking, iOS app developers will most likely have to redesign their apps to be compatible with Apple's Advertising Identifier and also take out all technology using cookie tracking.

Sources familiar with the situation told CNET that Apple is not specifically targeting apps that use cookie tracking. Instead, the company is said to be enforcing guidelines around the user interface design and experience.

Update, February 26 at 12:50 p.m. PT: Adds information from sources familiar with the situation.