iOS 14.5 Updates: What Marketers and Consumers Need To Know

April 27, 2021

3 minute read
  • Digital Marketing

Recent updates to Apple’s iOS 14.5 bring significant changes to how companies can access their customer’s data. These changes will affect a company’s ability to reach, understand, and engage with people across the wide range of Apple devices. 

The changes have caused a stir, with powerful advertising platforms like Facebook publicly denouncing these changes. But what specific changes will be implemented, and how does this affect advertisers who rely on customer data to make informed decisions on their marketing efforts?

iOS 14.5 Changes Specific to Digital Marketing

At the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last June, Apple announced significant changes to its AppTrackingTransparency framework

Developers are now required to get the user to to opt-in, giving developers permission to access the Identifier for Advertisers, or IDFA. If you’re not familiar with the IDFA, it’s a unique identifier assigned to specific devices. 

What does this mean? You must now manually grant the apps on your phone or tablet permission to track your decisions and habits within your device. In other words, the world of personalized advertisements or ultra-targeted marketing is in danger.  

Even worse? The businesses that reap the most benefits from personalized ads are generally small, local ones, which are also the same businesses that are hurting the most during the pandemic’s uncertainty. 

At its core, these changes to iOS 14.5 will dramatically limit the customer data available to marketers. Without reliable data on who customers are, marketing professionals can’t make informed decisions on their campaigns. Poorly informed decisions could mean drastic cuts to both campaign efficiency and bottom lines. 

Marketing campaigns that lose money and generate fewer leads isn’t the only problem. With digital marketing having less reach, fewer eyes get on your product. In turn, this could result in fewer sales and an even more significant bottom-line deficit.  

Facebook’s Response to iOS 14 Updates

Facebook has sharply and publicly criticized Apple on these changes. On a webpage explicitly launched to address the changes, Facebook argues that small businesses depending on personalized advertisements will be those most affected. 

Dan Levy, Facebook’s Vice President for advertisements and business products, went on record calling the changes “anti-competitive” in nature. Levy states he can’t help but question the company’s motives, suggesting it’s nothing more than an opportunity to pad Apple’s own pockets. 

This public outcry by a leader in online advertising gives hope that Apple may take back these changes. As of now, however, Apple has continued with these changes, and companies must find ways to keep their marketing as relevant as possible.

The Big Three Changes:

The three main changes that marketers and consumers alike need to be aware of revolve around the following:


What is IDFA?

  • IDFA is a unique Apple ID assigned to every device that is present across all applications
  • On Android it’s referred to as Google Play Services ID
  • Think of these as Cookies on your phone

What’s the big change?

You now have the ability to block IDFA on your phone at app-level

2. SKAd Network

What is SKAd Network?

This refers to Apple’s SDK (Software Development Kit) – which is the set of tools that help applications run and be managed by developers.

What’s the big change?

App installs as the result of in-app advertising will be run through Apple’s SKAd Network, giving Facebook less information into the apps that its users install and interact with.

3. ATT (App Tracking Transparency)

What is ATT?

A new prompt that will appear on all apps for all users

App Tracking transparency

The type of tracking that is implied by the pop-up above involves:

  • Targeted Ads in your apps based on your user behavior collected from a variety of apps and websites
  • Sharing your Location Data
  • Sharing Email Lists, Advertising IDs

Do You Need Assistance Navigating iOS 14.5 Updates?

Navigating these new changes can feel overwhelming and even hopeless. We’re here to help. 

If you’d like more information on how our company can help keep your marketing efforts, contact us today. One of our team members can discuss your options and offer invaluable insight into your future marketing campaigns.