Facebook threat to make iPhone apps pay: battle to a new heights

Facebook and Instagram apps users are getting an ominous message on the screen: if they refuse to turn on the collection of private data, there is a chance that the apps will one day no longer be free. Behind that threat is a battle the parent company has long waged with tech giant Apple.

The notification pops up for users with an iPhone or iPad who have the latest software update, iOS 14.5, installed. ‘This version of iOS requires us to ask for permission to track some of the data we use to improve our ads,’ the social network said.

Facebook has been collecting that private data for some time and says that it will personalize your advertising. It ensures that you will see advertisements for handbags, for example, if you recently searched for a new bag on the internet.


According to Facebook, collecting that data is so important that it is necessary to keep Facebook and Instagram free. In other words: if too few people give permission for the data collection, there is a chance that both apps will ever ask for money.

Privacy update for iPhones and iPads

Apple has added a special privacy switch in iOS 14.5, which requires app makers to request prior permission before they can collect certain information. In this way, the company hopes to protect users’ data better. The company is increasingly committed to privacy.

Last year, for example, it was also possible to create accounts within apps with your Apple ID, where your real e-mail address is hidden. In addition, Apple promises that private data will never be collected and sold by its own services.

Apps that want to track your private data will first ask for explicit permission in advance. In your iPhone or iPad settings, you can also go to the option ‘Privacy’ and click on ‘Tracking’. It keeps track of which apps have permission – and you can even turn off the request for private data if you wish.


Facebook has been resisting the privacy switch for months. The arrival of the software update has already been postponed after Facebook said it would take longer to prepare. In addition, Facebook repeatedly criticized the new possibility. For example, according to the tech giant, the privacy option would make life more difficult for small entrepreneurs. They advertise on Facebook but would be less able to find their target group without targeted advertising. In full-page advertisements, the company accused Apple of “destroying the free Internet.”

According to insiders from The Information, a website for technology news, Facebook would even prepare a lawsuit against Apple, in which the company is accused of abuse of power. Such a lawsuit would be one of many for Apple.

The European Commission itself concluded last week that Apple is abusing its power by, for example, demanding a high commission from Spotify, while its own music service Apple Music is not bothered by this. That case is also being challenged in court.

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