Industry News

Everything Businesses and Consumers Need to Know About Apple’s iOS 14.5 Security Updates

Madison Fraitag


Apple users know them well. Every month or so, we all get that familiar notification letting us know it’s time to update our software… again. While you often may not notice these updates to Apple’s operating system (iOS) outside of a few design changes, the impending update to iOS 14.5 is worth taking a closer look at.

2021-02 AppleiOS14Update Blog-01

In this post, we’re going to take a look at this update from all angles and simplify what it means for iOS users, but if you’re looking for something specific feel free to jump ahead.

What’s changing in iOS 14.5

Let’s recap what Apple’s been up to. The tech giant released iOS 14 in September 2020, just ahead of its iPhone 12 drop. Apple has released smaller updates with routine bug fixes and feature improvements each month since.

So, why are we paying so much attention to the upcoming iOS 14.5 update? Whether you’re a business owner running targeted ads, an avid social media scroller, or an iPhone and iPad user looking to up your data privacy, Apple’s impending security updates are about to shake things up for you with the launch of App Tracking Transparency. Here’s how you might notice this change on your own devices.

What you’ll notice on your iOS devices

Ever checked out a business’s website and almost immediately seen an ad for it on Facebook? With App Tracking Transparency, Apple gives you full control over which apps and websites can track your data. Now, iOS devices will feed you a notification any time an app is using your microphone, camera, clipboard, or other data source. This notification comes as an addition to the iOS 14.3 update allowing users to see what data an app plans to track before downloading it.

Another new notification will pop up each time you open an app for the first time after updating, asking your permission to allow data tracking across your other app and site activity. If you choose to opt out, platforms like Facebook that serve you targeted ads will no longer have access to your data from outside its own platform.

Apple iOS 14.5 security notification (Image credit: Apple)

Along with its larger mission of increased data privacy, Apple has also rolled out the addition of a physical green or orange light on your device to signal camera and microphone usage respectively. You’ll also start to notice the option to only give apps access to some of your camera roll, as opposed to the previous all-or-nothing options.

iOS 14.5 also brings other new features to get excited about, including an easier way to unlock your phone while wearing a mask, the ability to set a default music player, 200+ new emojis, and more.

What’s happening behind the scenes

As with all software updates, things will be changing behind the scenes that you may not notice in your day-to-day device usage. The key change with this update and the new App Tracking Transparency involves a unique identifier on iOS devices called the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). This is the code used by ad targeting technology like the Facebook pixel to measure a business’s cross-platform campaign performance, track ad clicks, and monitor purchases made from an ad.

This code is also used by companies to sell mobile ads, earning a profit in the process. By providing this advanced tracking technology, a platform’s ads become more attractive to businesses, helping publishers like Facebook score more users, making more money in the process.

Until now, advertisers could retarget their ads based on their own website traffic using a device’s IDFA. When you choose to opt in or out of this data sharing, you’re really deciding whether to share this code with a company or not. By choosing to withhold your IDFA, you will be protecting your data but missing out on a personalized ad experience.

What this means for businesses

These changes, while pivotal for consumers in protecting their data privacy, will likely create challenges for businesses advertising on these platforms using your IDFA. Here’s what you need to know.

For Facebook

Apple’s latest update has caught the attention of one business in particular. Facebook is making big moves to encourage users to opt in for this data tracking, aiming to continue providing a personalized ad experience via the pixel. CEO Mark Zuckerburg also noted that by opting out users would be harming the growth of “millions of businesses around the world.”

As an effort to encourage users to opt in, Facebook will be offering a pop-up on all iOS devices with a note about how it will benefit you to share your activity. This will display just before the new Apple pop-up, essentially asking the same question. However, even if you opt in on Facebook’s pop-up, whatever you choose on Apple’s will be your final choice.

For your business

Facebook is correct in saying that this added security will present new challenges for businesses. According to Statista, 79.9% of Facebook users only use the site on their mobile phone. This means the majority of your audience is browsing on mobile, and you’ll need to find new ways to reach them there.

Luckily, we’ve identified the simplest way around this, allowing you to continue reaching iOS users without using the pixel to target from your website traffic. In short, you’ll need to retarget your iOS audiences based on their Facebook activity, including engagement, video views, profile visits, and more.

Industry pros are predicting the most effective way to gauge this activity is through video views, with Facebook allowing you to retarget ads based on the duration a user has viewed your video. Here’s a high-level look at how you can start doing this today:

  1. Create a video ad for brand awareness with the objective of gaining views. You can do this easily with Animoto templates like Ad Funnel: Awareness.
  2. Run your ad on Facebook or any of its affiliate platforms such as Instagram. Track your video views and identify your qualified customers based on the time they spend watching your video ad.
  3. Create a second ad for consideration, retargeting the audience you’ve identified with your first ad. For example, only target users who have viewed over 25% of your video. Need a quick refresher on retargeting? Check out Facebook’s rundown of creating and retargeting custom audiences here, then keep the same look and feel with our Ad Funnel: Consideration template.
  4. Repeat this process to bring your audience further down the funnel with an ad for conversion. You guessed it, we’ve got a template for that too.

FB ads manager, campaign objective selector

The main takeaway for successfully running targeted ads after the release of iOS 14.5 is understanding the three goals within the ad funnel: awareness, consideration, and conversion. By targeting your audience based on platform activity, you can continue to see success with your Facebook ads whether your audience opts in or not.

What to consider before opting in

Before making a decision to opt in or not, there are a few things you should consider. To help you out, we made a case for both.

Why you should opt in

Using social media is a choice, and if one of your reasons for making that choice is fully personalized elements like your For You page on TikTok or Pinterest, you may want to say yes to data sharing. There’s nothing wrong with opting in, but we recommend doing a little research on a company’s data privacy stance before doing so. If they’re reputable and share a transparent message on what they plan to do with your data, you should be in the clear.

Why you should opt out

It goes without saying that there’s always some level of risk to sharing your data. If you don’t value the convenience and personalization of Facebook’s browsing experience, it may be your best bet to just opt out.

We’re here to help

Whether you’re unsure if you should be opting in or not, or if you need a little support navigating this new way of running ads, we’re here to help every step of the way. Feel free to email us any time, or join the Animoto Social Video Marketing Community on Facebook to connect with other marketers making these important decisions too.

Ready to create your next video ad? Get started with Animoto for free today to create stunning videos in minutes.