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iOS 17: Apple Link Tracking Protection updates – implications for online businesses

Huriyyah Dhanse

By Huriyyah Dhanse, Vice President, Customer

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16th August 2023

June 2023 has seen a new privacy update from Apple, including the introduction of a Link Tracking Protection (LTP) feature that will be arriving with the next version of its mobile operating system – iOS 17, which is set to be released in late September.

Read on to find out what Link Tracking Protection is and learn more about the potential implications for online businesses.

What is Link Tracking Protection?

Apple describes Link Tracking Protection as the following:

Some websites add extra information to their URLs in order to track users across other websites. Now this information will be removed from the links users share in Messages and Mail, and the links will still work as expected. This information will also be removed from links in Safari Private Browsing.

This means that Apple will automatically strip various URL parameters in Safari (automatically in private mode and as opt-in in default browsing mode), and when opening links from Apple Mail and messages.

What data will be affected?

In most cases, neither UTM parameters nor custom user ID parameters will be stripped. Rather, what will get stripped are selected user-level parameters from platforms like Google (gclid), Facebook (fbclid), HubSpot (__hssc_hsenc__hstc), MailChimp (mc_eid) and everything listed in the ‘Tracking query parameter tests’ at privacytests.org.

Marketers will be reassured that obvious customer or profile identifiers, or UTM tracking data, are unaffected, which means link tracking is still going to be a viable tool.

View Words to the Wise Co-Founder, Steve Atkins’ research into LTP to learn more.

How does this impact Fresh Relevance’s services?

At Fresh Relevance, we’re passionate about helping our clients succeed with personalization whilst protecting consumers’ right to privacy and transparency.

As big proponents of online privacy we welcome the changes Apple are making and look forward to these becoming industry standard, as the banning of third-party cookies has become.

From the information we currently have on LTP, it is unlikely there will be an impact on our services. But since LTP is still in Beta and could change before the release, our team will be keeping up to date with any developments.

Want to learn more about how the Apple Mail privacy updates will affect you and how Fresh Relevance can help? Book a demo to chat to one of our personalization experts and see the platform in action.

Huriyyah Dhanse

By Huriyyah Dhanse

Vice President, Customer

As Vice President, Customer at Fresh Relevance, Huriyyah oversees the company’s Customer Department and works with top eCommerce and travel brands to help them meet their cross-channel personalization goals.