iOS 14 Guide

Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework and the respective App Store review guidelines introduce industry-shifting, privacy-focused changes. Under the latest guidelines, user data must only be used for cross-application tracking after the user has opted-in via the new ATT framework. This is the latest development in the ramp-up of increased privacy focus for the industry, after GDPR in 2018 and CCPA in 2019. Compliance with the latest App Store Review guidelines is predicated on the proper usage of this new framework.

At mParticle we welcome this change as we believe privacy is a fundamental human right. As an extensions of our customer’s data infrastructure, we help process billions of user and device-based events from across their apps, sites, and other end-user touch-points. Every customer must explicitly configure exactly what and where their data is sent, including product analytics, marketing, advertising and data warehousing tools. As part of the product, we have long championed the concept of “data minimization” - encouraging customers to audit and minimize any data leaving the system, only including specific identifiers, events, and attributes of events as needed for the particular integration.

This guide walks through our latest recommendations for App Store compliance. This is not legal advice, and it is up to you to ensure you properly adhere to Apple’s guidelines and intentions.

Additional reading

Under these new privacy guidelines each app must ensure that all user data processing obeys user consent elections and ultimately protects them from breaching App Store Review guidelines.

Please reference the following two Apple documents for the latest compliance requirements:

What is mParticle changing?

Events API

You can now associate any iOS device data with an ATT status. mParticle has introduced a new att_authorization_status field in support of this, and all customers implementing the Apple SDK or sending iOS data server-to-server are encouraged to begin collecting and sending this field. At a future date, this field will become required when providing mParticle with an IDFA. Please see the implementation guides below for more information.

Apple SDK

  • As of version 8.0.1, released in September, the Apple SDK no longer automatically collects the IDFA. See the release notes and the migration guide of the SDK for other important changes
  • All mParticle kits for the Apple SDK have been updated to their latest versions, please ensure you update to the latest versions of any kits you are using, as well as the respective partner SDK.
  • As of version 8.2.0, released in February, you are encouraged to provide the App Tracking Transparency authorization status of your users. See the guide below or the Github migration guide for how to implement the new field.

Integrations

All integrations that perform cross-app tracking or accept the IDFA will be affected by App Tracking Transparency. We expect there to be continual updates across integrations as the ATT framework is enforced. Please see the documentation for your integrations to determine if there’s anything you need to do to ensure compatibility once iOS 14.5 is released.

The following is general guidance for all integrations:

  • For kit integrations, ensure that you are on the latest version of the kit and the respective partner SDK
  • Ensure you are populating the new App Tracking Transparency authorization status field detailed below. This field is required for several integrations such as Facebook and AppsFlyer
  • If you are using IDFA as the primary identifier for a given integration, you should a expect significant change to unique user counts and user history, as the IDFA becomes unavailable.

Integrations with Updates for iOS 14

The following integrations have introduced new server-side APIs such as to accept the new App Tracking Transparency status, or have been updated to move away from IDFA usage.

Request an Integration Update

mParticle is updating integrations for iOS 14 in priority order based on usage and identified potential impact. Please reach out via your Account Manager if there are any integrations that you’d like to request a specific update for or if there is an integration that you’d like more information about.

Implementation guide

mParticle has introduced two new properties to the Events API, surfaced via the Apple SDK and server-to-server API, that can be associated with all of your iOS devices in the system. Today, these properties can be used by you in Rules to limit data collection and restrict data flow, and they are also forwarded or mapped to supported partner integrations.

att_authorization_status

This is a string which must be any of the following, and correlates directly with Apple’s ATTrackingManagerAuthorizationStatus enumeration:

  • “authorized”
  • “denied”
  • “not_determined”
  • “restricted”

Navigate to Apple’s documentation for the definition of each of these values and see Apple’s developer guide for how to query for the state of this value in your apps via the App Tracking Transparency framework.

att_timestamp_unixtime_ms

This is an optional field that specifies when the end-user first responded to the App Tracking Transparency prompt. Populate this field based on when you receive the callback from the App Tracking Transparency framework with the user’s election, or when you first came to know of the user’s authorization status if denied or not_determined. If you are using the mParticle Apple SDK, the timestamp can be automatically managed and populated for you. See below for more information.

Apple SDK

The mParticle Apple SDK does not automatically collect the IDFA and it does not automatically prompt the user for tracking authorization. It is up to you to determine if your downstream mParticle integrations require the IDFA, and then show the App Tracking Transparency prompt as needed.

Please see Apple’s App Tracking transparency guide for how to request user authorization for tracking.

Provide ATT status

The mParticle SDK allows you to easily provide the user’s current ATT status and timestamp if known. The SDK’s MPATTAuthorizationStatus enumeration maps directly to Apple’s ATTrackingManagerAuthorizationStatus enumeration.

  • Once provided to the SDK, the ATT status will be stored on the device and continually included with all future uploads, for all MPIDs for the device
  • If not provided, the timestamp will be set to the current time
  • The SDK will ignore API calls to change the ATT status, if the ATT status hasn’t changed from the previous API call. This allows the SDK to keep track of the originally provided timestamp.

There are two locations where you should provide the ATT status:

1. When initializing the SDK via MParticleOptions:

The user’s ATT status may change at any time as the user may directly change its value in the device’s settings. You cannot rely on the response from the ATT prompt alone to ensure this field is up to date.

MParticleOptions *options = [MParticleOptions optionsWithKey:@"REPLACE WITH APP KEY" secret:@"REPLACE WITH APP SECRET"];
options.attStatus = @([ATTrackingManager trackingAuthorizationStatus]);
[[MParticle sharedInstance] startWithOptions:options];
let options = MParticleOptions(key: "REPLACE WITH APP KEY", secret: "REPLACE WITH APP SECRET")     
options.attStatus = NSNumber.init(value: ATTrackingManager.trackingAuthorizationStatus.rawValue)
MParticle.sharedInstance().start(with: options)

2. After the user responds to the ATT prompt:

The code below shows the following:

  • On response to the user, map the ATTrackingManagerAuthorizationStatus enum to the mParticle MPATTAuthorizationStatus enum
  • If desired, provide the IDFA to the mParticle Identity API when available
[ATTrackingManager requestTrackingAuthorizationWithCompletionHandler:^(ATTrackingManagerAuthorizationStatus status) {
    switch (status) {
        case ATTrackingManagerAuthorizationStatusAuthorized:
        [[MParticle sharedInstance]]setATTState:(MPATTAuthorizationStatus)ATTrackingManagerAuthorizationStatusAuthorized withATTStatusTimestampMillis:nil];

        // Now that we are authorized we can get the IDFA, supple to mParticle Identity API as needed
        MPIdentityApiRequest *identityRequest = [MPIdentityApiRequest requestWithEmptyUser];
        [identityRequest setIdentity: [[[ASIdentifierManager sharedManager] advertisingIdentifier] UUIDString] identityType:MPIdentityIOSAdvertiserId];
        [[[MParticle sharedInstance] identity] modify:identityRequest completion:identityCallback];
        break;
    case ATTrackingManagerAuthorizationStatusDenied:
        [[MParticle sharedInstance]]setATTState:(MPATTAuthorizationStatus)ATTrackingManagerAuthorizationStatusDenied withATTStatusTimestampMillis:nil];
        break;
    case ATTrackingManagerAuthorizationStatusNotDetermined:
        [[MParticle sharedInstance]]setATTState:(MPATTAuthorizationStatus)ATTrackingManagerAuthorizationStatusNotDetermined withATTStatusTimestampMillis:nil];
        break;
    case ATTrackingManagerAuthorizationStatusRestricted:
        [[MParticle sharedInstance]]setATTState:(MPATTAuthorizationStatus)ATTrackingManagerAuthorizationStatusRestricted withATTStatusTimestampMillis:nil];
        break;
    default:
        [[MParticle sharedInstance]]setATTState:(MPATTAuthorizationStatus)ATTrackingManagerAuthorizationStatusNotDetermined withATTStatusTimestampMillis:nil];
        break;
    }
}];
ATTrackingManager.requestTrackingAuthorization { status in
    switch status {
    case .authorized:
        MParticle.sharedInstance().setATTState((MPATTAuthorizationStatus)status, withTimestampMillis: nil)
    
        // Now that we are authorized we can get the IDFA, supply to mParticle Identity API as needed
        var identityRequest = MPIdentityApiRequest.withEmptyUser()
        identityRequest.setIdentity(ASIdentifierManager.shared().advertisingIdentifier.uuidString, identityType: MPIdentity.iOSAdvertiserId)
        MParticle.sharedInstance().identity.modify(identityRequest, completion: identityCallback)
    case .denied:
        MParticle.sharedInstance().setATTState((MPATTAuthorizationStatus)status, withTimestampMillis: nil)
    case .notDetermined:
        MParticle.sharedInstance().setATTState((MPATTAuthorizationStatus)status, withTimestampMillis: nil)
    case .restricted:
        MParticle.sharedInstance().setATTState((MPATTAuthorizationStatus)status, withTimestampMillis: nil)
    @unknown default:
        MParticle.sharedInstance().setATTState((MPATTAuthorizationStatus)status, withTimestampMillis: nil)
    }
}

Server-to-Server

The ATT properties should be provided whenever available, when sending data for an iOS device. In the future, the ATT status will be required when providing the IDFA (ios_advertising_id) field.

{
   "user_identities": {
       "customer_id":"123456789"
   },
   "device_info": {
       "ios_advertising_id":"613ff528-afd1-4c1b-9628-e6ed25ece9c0",
       "att_authorization_status": "authorized",
       "att_timestamp_unixtime_ms": 1614121622175
   },
   "events": [...]
}

Please see the HTTP reference for more information.

App Store privacy questionnaire

As part of your app’s submission process, you need to complete a privacy questionnaire detailing the data you collect and how it is used. Your answers must cover all collection and usage of data, not just data collected through mParticle, and you are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of your responses.

We provide the following information as a guide to mParticle’s capabilities that are relevant to the questionnaire.

General Information

As a part of your infrastructure, mParticle itself does not use your data for tracking.

  • Data does not leave the mParticle platform unless explicitly configured to do so by you
  • mParticle does not combine user data from your app with user data from other developers’ apps
  • mParticle does not use your data for targeted advertisments

Your answers to the questionnaire, including how data is used, and whether it is co-mingled with third-party data, will depend on what customer data you choose to capture with mParticle, which mParticle integrations you use, and which subset of your data you send to each integration.

mParticle provides a suite of privacy-by-design tools to help you understand and manage the flow of data including:

  • Extensive filtering options that allow you to send each datapoint only where it is needed.
  • The ability to filter user data based on customer consent.
  • A data catalog that records where each data point has been sent.

Types of data collection 

Since mParticle allows you to collect custom event data and user attributes, it is possible to collect any of the data types outlined by the Apple Store Privacy Questionnaire. To answer the questions it will be necessary to conduct a thorough audit of your mParticle implementation. However, there are a few data types that the mParticle iOS SDK either collects automatically, or can be configured to collect automatically:

Data Type Collected Automatically by mParticle SDK May be collected through logging custom events, commerce events, user attributes or identities with mParticle
Contact Info No Yes
Health and Fitness No Yes
Financial Info No Yes
Location (Off by default) mParticle’s iOS SDK can be configured to automatically collect location info. Yes - for custom location updates look for updateLocation in your code.
Sensitive Information No Yes
Contacts No Yes
User Content No Yes
Browsing History No Yes
Search History No Yes
Identifiers Yes - IDFV (Vendor ID) is automatically collected by the mParticle SDK. IDFA is no longer automatically collected. See our docs for more on collecting device IDs in iOS 14. Yes - Can be set as user attributes or set via IDSync
Purchases No Yes - Usually collected as commerce events.
Usage Data Yes - The mParticle SDK automatically tracks Application State Transitions can be configured to automatically track sessions. For more info, see here. Yes
Diagnostics Yes - mParticle automatically collects some diagnostic information, such as battery life. The SDK can also be configured for automatic exception tracking. Look for beginUncaughtExceptionLogging in your code. Yes
Other Data Yes - mParticle automatically collects metadata about the device, including screen size, battery percentage, orientation. Yes

Data use

For each of the above data types, the App Store Privacy Questionnaire asks about six categories of data use:

  1. Third-Party advertising
  2. Developer’s Advertising or Marketing
  3. Analytics
  4. Product Personalization
  5. App Functionality
  6. Other

mParticle can enable any of the above uses through our suite of event and audience integrations, data warehouse integrations, Profile API, etc. To answer this section, you will need to conduct a thorough audit of where you send your data outside of mParticle and how it is used.

Data linked to the user

Data in mParticle is linked to a unique identifier (mParticle ID) which can also be linked to a customer ID, email address and device IDs. Additionally, you can choose to forward these identifiers to third-party partners via our event and audience integrations. See the integrations catalog for information on which identifiers are forwarded to each integration.

Tracking

In the wording of the Apple Store Privacy Questionnaire:

“Tracking” refers to linking data collected from your app about a particular end-user or device, such as a user ID, device ID, or profile, with Third-Party Data for targeted advertising or advertising measurement purposes, or sharing data collected from your app about a particular end-user or device with a data broker.

mParticle itself does not use any data for “Tracking”. By default, data is not forwarded to any external services, and is not linked with any third-party data. However, several third-party integrations can use data collected by mParticle for tracking. To answer this question, you will need to conduct a thorough audit of your mParticle implementation and the integrations you use. The Data Master catalog is a valuable resource for understanding all data you capture through mParticle, where it comes from, and where it is forwarded.

Was this page helpful?