Ahead of WWDC, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple will be bestowing upon developers a new way to track users while simultaneously protecting user privacy.
This is an important announcement, if true, following Apple’s relatively recent decision that precludes developers from using Unique Device Identifiers (UDID) as a means to collect data such as location information from users across different apps.
How Apple’s new technology works and what it will allow developers to track remains unclear. One of the people briefed said that the new anonymous identifier is likely to rely on a sequence of numbers that isn’t tied to a specific device.
An Apple spokesman declined to comment.
Since saying it would phase out UDIDs, the Cupertino, Calif. company—gatekeeper to almost 600,000 mobile apps—has been mum about how it plans to do so.
Meanwhile, developers and mobile ad networks have been evaluating various workarounds, worried about losing millions of dollars in revenue if they can’t target users with mobile ads. Companies also say they need a way to recognize users in order to customize content and preferences. None of the new workarounds, which include methods like tracking based on an ID in a phone’s wireless networking hardware, have taken off.