Mobile trends

Privacy Manifests: A New Era for Transparency and Control


Apple's introduction of "Privacy Manifests" marks a significant evolution in Apple's approach to transparency and control. This initiative is designed to provide clarity over data collection and usage, particularly targeting the practice of fingerprinting. Here's an executive summary that explains the concept of privacy manifests — which are due to become a day-to-day part of app developers' lives from this coming Autumn with the new features of both SKAN 4 and Apple's enhanced privacy rules..

1. Understanding Fingerprinting

Fingerprinting is a method where unique characteristics of a device, such as software, type, and screen appearance, are used to track user behavior online. This information is often used for targeted advertising, sometimes without user consent. Apple's stance against fingerprinting stems from a commitment to user privacy.

2. Introducing Privacy Manifests

Privacy Manifests are standardized files that outline the privacy practices of an app or ad tech vendor. Think of them as behind-the-scenes summaries that detail:

  • Tracking Purposes: Whether data is used for tracking as defined by Apple's privacy safeguards.
  • Connected Sites: A list of sites that are tracking online behavior.
  • Data Collection: Specific types of data collected by the app or vendor.
  • iOS Tools Access: A list of iOS tools that can be accessed, but only for specific reasons.

3. Technical Implementation

For developers, Apple provides clear guidelines on how to record the categories of data collected and the reasons for collection. This includes:

  • Data Types: Such as contact info, health & fitness, financial info, location, etc.
  • Data Purposes: Reasons for collecting each data type.
  • API Usage: Describing the reasons for using specific APIs that could be misused for fingerprinting.

Developers can use Xcode to create a privacy report, summarizing the information about collected data in their app.

4. Comparison with Ads.txt Files

Privacy Manifests can be likened to Ads.txt files. While Ads.txt files list authorized ad sellers, Privacy Manifests let app owners disclose their data practices. Both are tools for transparency and control.

5. Timeline and Compliance

The implementation of Privacy Manifests will begin this fall, with checks becoming a standard part of the app review process by next spring. App developers and ad tech vendors will need to address these issues before submitting new or updated apps to the App Store.

6. The Bigger Picture: Private Relay

Alongside Privacy Manifests, Apple's Private Relay acts as a secret weapon against fingerprinting by redirecting web traffic through separate servers, rendering IP addresses useless for fingerprinting.


Apple's Privacy Manifests initiative is more than a technical requirement; it's a statement of intent in the ongoing battle for digital privacy. By standardizing transparency and giving control back to the users, Apple is not only enhancing trust but also setting a precedent that may influence the broader tech industry.For business executives, understanding and embracing these changes is not just about compliance but aligning with a future where transparency and user-centricity are core values. The onus is on app owners to enforce these new standards, and those who do will likely find themselves in a stronger position in a market increasingly concerned with privacy.

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