Apple Rejecting iOS Apps that Grab UDID Codes

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Apple is pushing developers to stop using the unique identifier embedded in iPhones and iPads, or UDID, and over the last week has apparently begun rejecting apps that gather the codes, according to TechCrunch.

Apple rejecting UDID grabbing appsApp developers were warned several months ago that the change was coming, although it seems at least some coders weren’t expecting Apple to start enforcing the new rule so soon.

At least some developers rely on the UDID codes to track user activity for targeted advertising and troubleshooting. Since Apple is phasing out the option to use the unique identifiers, companies are looking for new ways to keep tabs on users while avoiding personal privacy concerns.

“In the next month or two, this is going to have an impact on all ad networks and apps using advertising,” said Andy Yang of Playhaven, a company that helps developers make money off of their apps. “Everybody’s trying to make their own choices about what to use instead.”

Some developers have been able to work around the UDID collection block by asking users for permission to grab the code with in-app dialogs. Since Apple is actively pushing developers away from UDID collection, however, those companies may have to find alternative ways of tracking their users, too.

[Some images courtesy Shutterstock.]

Comments

gnasher729

companies are looking for new ways to keep tabs on users while avoiding personal privacy concerns…

They don’t need to look. Apple has published the solution: Call CFUUIDCreate to create an ID that is not in any way based on the user’s identity or data, and store it in the user preferences for your application. Compared to the privacy-violating UDID, it has the advantage that it will still identify that user correctly when they replace their iPad or iPhone with a new model. The only ones who don’t like this are either too stupid to be developers, or too annoyed that it makes privacy violations a lot harder.

Chris

Apple fanboys that lash out at all developers who have a reasonable opinion about a design decision by Apple and call developers ‘stupid’, are probably not the best developers themselves.

gnasher729

<quote>Apple fanboys that lash out at all developers who have a reasonable opinion about a design decision by Apple and call developers ?stupid?, are probably not the best developers themselves.</quote>
You seem to be confused. When you actually have something of substance to say, then say it.

Lee Dronick

When you actually have something of substance to say, then say it.

With a shorter sentence, and don’t drop an F bomb. smile

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

The only ones who don?t like this are either too stupid to be developers, or too annoyed that it makes privacy violations a lot harder.

I’m with Chris. This sentiment is uncalled for, and, and in all likelihood, a gross mischaracterization of many developers who have used various UUIDs for something. Ferchrisakes gnasher, it’s an OSF standard and is used in very standard, essential, non-nefarious things, such as encryption libraries.

No doubt this will add hassle and costs for a lot of developers who aren’t out to steal your privacy. It’s like wanting to ban energy drinks because some idiot 14 year old with a known heart condition had to consume the caffeine equivalent of 2 large Starbucks coffees in a 24 hour period.

ctopher

I thought the F word was “fanboi!” (iBoy? iFan? IOSHole?)

Lee Dronick

I thought the F word was ?fanboi!?

It is smile

gnasher729

I?m with Chris. This sentiment is uncalled for, and, and in all likelihood, a gross mischaracterization of many developers who have used various UUIDs for something. Ferchrisakes gnasher, it?s an OSF standard and is used in very standard, essential, non-nefarious things, such as encryption libraries.

You are confused between “UDID” = Unique Device IDentifier and “UUID” = Universally Unique IDentifier. Apple is rejecting apps that use Unique Device IDentifiers. That’s apps that keep track of users by using the ID of their iPad or iPhone, which can then be crossreferenced against use of other applications. That’s a risk for privacy, and it is a pretty idiotic thing to do to keep track of users: If you buy a new iPad and sell your old one, not only do you lose any data (like game high scores) that was stored on a server under your UDID, but the next user of your old iPad will inherit the data, even if the iPad is totally erased first.

UUID was exactly what I said should be used instead, because that is an identifier that is unique _per application_ so nobody can find out that someone asking application A is the same person as someone using application B, and it can get carried over to your next device. (And of course it is exactly what Apple recommends you should be doing).

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Actually, I’m much less confused than you might assume, having had to deal with something like this issue for a client recently. Generally speaking, there are fraud monitoring systems out there that use the device id to quickly detect and thwart an emerging fraud. Transition from what was totally kosher not long ago to the new way of doing things can be complicated, costly, and have some negative impact on security.

Anyway, this is why I took exception with your last sentence. It’s just not terribly considerate of a problem many developers face that has nothing to do with tracking the relative amount of time you spend playing two particular games.

Justin Walker

Thanks for the heads up on the quick change. I’m starting to develop a couple of apps on my own after working with an agency for several years. I’m reading Chad Mureta?s new book App Empire. http://appempirebook.com. He’s proven time and again how to take great ideas and market them in the app form. Check it out if you’re looking for more advice and ideas on how to build apps that thrive and prosper.

archimedes

I expect that banning use of the UDID will change nothing and apps will simply use the one of the device’s wireless MAC addresses (either WiFi or BlueTooth) or they will request access to your contacts and simply use your phone number.

archimedes

I also note that Apple is the source of both the UDID and the API which allowed apps to use it!

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