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Apple begins rejecting iOS apps that look for UDID info

updated 01:40 am EDT, Sun March 25, 2012

Apple now screening for UDID-tracking apps

Apple has acted on its plans to deprecate UDID access in iOS 5 by starting to reject apps that try to access the unique device identifiers. Tips late Saturday to TechCrunch had two of Apple's ten review teams outright rejecting any app that wants UDIDs, with the number growing to four next week and continuing until every reviewer denies UDID access. Individual developers, management groups, and ad supporters such as Playhaven and MoPub have already been denied App Store spots.

Some say they've cleared approval if they explicitly ask for the UDID information. Recommendation service Appsfire, in turn, has so far been working by promoting an independent standard, OpenUDID. Either requires an opt-in, either on the part of the user or the developer, and may struggle versus the previous, automatic approach of simply collecting an existing UDID. One tactic so far, collecting a Wi-Fi router's MAC address for a given iOS device's connection, might prove fragile as it still traces back to one device.

Both advertisers and developers that had grown dependent on UDIDs will now have to either find an alternative or scrap features that relied primarily on the identifiers to function. Those advertising on third-party ad networks may have the most problem, since some of them have leaned heavily on UDIDs to track usage and generate their results.

Apple hasn't publicly commented on the process, although it's believed to be speeding up the process of transitioning developers away from UDID months ahead of schedule over political concerns. Apple and iOS developers alike are already under Congress' scrutiny for possibly revealing too much about individual users. Since UDID is tied directly to hardware, it can theoretically be used to identify individuals and could mark a gross invasion of privacy if misused, or at least draw extra attention from legislators and regulators.

UDIDs will continue to get broader use at Apple for diagnostics and other special instances, and not for its regular apps.

By Electronista Staff


  1. UmarOMC

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Whilst my Android...

    ...will collect pictures, unique identifiers, take pictures of you and your families without your knowledge, forward your GPS location to advertisers, etc... I love my new cattle tag.

  1. garmonbosia

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2002


    Apple begins rejecting iOS apps..

    You forgot to add "quietly".

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: Whilst my Android...

    ...will collect pictures,

    Oh, an iOS app can collect your pictures as well, as long as you gave the app location permission.

    unique identifiers,

    Nothing says they aren't allowing access to unique identifiers. All they are doing is deprecating the UDID. There's a lot more that could mark your device uniquely. Like your phone number! Or the MAC address. Or who knows what else is available!

    take pictures of you and your families without your knowledge,

    And since when did this happen?

    Oh, and you forgot that the iOS allows apps to collect your entire address book. Gee, which is worse, do you think, pictures of the inside of your pocket, or the email addresses and phone numbers of everyone you know, including business contacts?

    forward your GPS location to advertisers, etc... I love my new cattle tag.

    Um, Apple will forward your location to it's iAd service as well. As will any app you allow access to location services, who can pass it on to anyone they want.

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