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Apple Updates Mobile App Ad-serving Guidelines

Tim Maytom

Apple Logo StoreApple has released new, stricter guidelines for developers submitting apps to the iTunes store designed to serve ads.

Under the new rules, Apple will reject mobile apps that don't use Advertising Identifiers, specifically the IDFA, a unique ID for each iOS device that is the only way to offer targetd ads across the network. Apps may also be rejected if they use the IDFA but do not display ads properly or have a built-in advertising, or indicate they don't use the IDFA when they do.

With more and more developers using deep linking to help people discover relevant content within their apps, identifying content-related ads in apps has become increasingly important. Apple has expanded its iAd advertising network into 16 countries and regions, moving into Russia and Switzerland most recently.

The rules update also includes strict guidelines for developers working on apps for the new HealthKit feature, banning them from sharing the data with ad networks. The rule change goes some way to alleviating fears about how HealthKit would interact with the rest of Apple's ecosystem, and how users' data would be utilised.

The policy states that developers "must not sell an end-user's health information collected through the HealthKit API to advertising platforms, data brokers or information resellers" and that applications "must not access the HealthKit APIs unless it is primarily designed to provide health and/or fitness services".

Information can still be shared with third parties for medical research purposes, if developers have the explicit consent of the user before doing so. This enables data to be shared with doctors, other health professionals and even insurance companies to alert them to changes in users' health status.

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