Here’s Why You May Soon See More Ads on Your iPhone
We associate Apple devices with elegant hardware design, clean interfaces, and airtight user privacy. Unlike Google, we don’t think about ads when we think about Apple as a company.
Unconfirmed reports now suggest that Apple is considering showing its users more ads in more places across the Apple ecosystem. But why? Let’s find out.
Are More Ads Coming to Apple Devices?
Although Apple likes to protect its users from tracking by advertisers and other external parties, the company supports ads in three of its native apps: News, Stocks, and the App Store itself, where developers pay Apple to promote their apps. In addition, although Apple TV+ is free of ads, it recently introduced ads for the first time during Friday Night Baseball.
According to Bloomberg, notable tech journalist and Apple expert Mark Gurman has suggested that Apple might soon introduce adverts in four more apps, including Apple Maps, Podcasts, Books, and an ad-supported tier for its Apple TV+ service.
Soon, restaurants might pay money to rank at the top in Apple Maps when users search for places to eat, publishers might pay for their content to rank higher in search results in the books and podcast apps, and Apple TV+ might introduce a lower-priced tier with ads.
Although these are just rumors, they are worth our attention because Gurman has accurately predicted many things at Apple before (he published the first known photos of the iPhone 5, for example). The Apple fan website, applescoop.org, gives Gurman a score of 84.3% for the accuracy of his Apple predictions.
Why Would Apple Show More Ads to Users?
Well, we can identify at least two potential motivations. First, according to Gurman, although Apple generates about $4 billion in ad revenue annually, the company wants to “increase that to double digits.”
Second, Apple must be aware that it cannot continue to rely on its devoted customers to keep paying ever higher prices for its hardware. Therefore, it’s a good idea to pivot to ads as an alternate source of revenue.
For years, Apple has watched adverts help tech giants such as Google and Facebook laugh all the way to the bank. Over the years, Apple has tried various tactics to get a piece of that action without much success, but the company hasn’t given up.
What Is Apple’s Advertising Game Plan?
Apple has officially confirmed nothing yet, but we can speculate what the company may do based on its recent moves in the advertising space.
1. Deploy App Tracking Transparency (ATT)
In 2021, Apple launched a feature called App Tracking Transparency (ATT) to allegedly protect user privacy. It enables Apple users to block third-party apps from collecting data on them as they surf the internet, thereby denying advertisers the data they need to target Apple users with relevant ads.
According to Bloomberg, over 75% of Apple users have enabled ATT, costing social media companies billions of dollars.
2. Gradually Introduce Ads Into the Space Created by ATT
There are reasons to think ATT may not be so helpful to users. However, since the feature does not protect you inside the Apple ecosystem because it is designed to work outside of it, it is undoubtedly useful to Apple. Gurman notes that Apple “uses data from its other services and your Apple account to decide which ads to serve.”
To be fair, Apple does enable you to disable ad personalization (go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Apple Advertising). Theoretically, this helps protect your data even within the Apple ecosystem.
However, although 78% of iOS 15 users have also disabled ad personalization, Apple still knows their carrier’s identity, device type, and what they read.
And now that ATT has largely removed Apple’s competitors from its ecosystem, Apple seems poised to gradually fill the gap with its own ads. Ruthless but effective.
Do Apple Users Want More Ads?
Apple users pay high prices for their devices, which they may reasonably expect to shield them from ads. Secondly, over 70% of Apple users have taken advantage of every tool offered to them to restrict ads. Thus, it is safe to say they don’t want more ads.
However, Apple has played its hand well, and its users may have no choice but to deal with ads. Although nothing has been confirmed yet, it seems inevitable that more ads are coming to an Apple device near you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.