What is Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement? Turn Off or On?

The Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement option is available in Safari. We explain what it does and how you can turn it off or on.

By Kevin Shaw - Editor
3 Min Read

If you go to Settings > Safari > Advanced on your iPhone or iPad, you will see an option called “Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement.” The same setting is also available on a Mac Safari settings if you launch Safari and go to Safari > Settings > Advanced > Privacy. You will see a checkbox saying “Allow privacy-preserving measurement of ad effectiveness.” You may wonder what this setting does. You may also wonder what will happen if you turn it on or off. This article explains what “Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement” does and if you should turn it on or off.

Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement in Safari Settings on iPhone

What does privacy preserving ad measurement do?

Here’s how Apple describes the Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement option:

When Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement is enabled, Safari will provide websites with attribution reports to help websites and advertisers attribute the viewing of and clicking on ads, while still preserving your privacy. Safari will send attribution reports with limited data in a dedicated mode using IP address protection, no data storage, without any cookies, and delayed randomly between 24 and 48 hours. The attribution reports do not contain any personal data.

Basically, Safari’s Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement is designed to preserve users’ privacy. It is an answer to how to provide support for advertising without harming privacy. Advertisers will want to know how the ads are doing, and end-users like us will want our privacy to be honored.

Should you enable or disable Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement?

This feature supports advertisers while preserving user security and privacy. A similar Safari setting called Prevent cross-site tracking is disabled by default. Cross-site tracking allows third-party content provider to track you across websites and apps to show you more targeted ads.

Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement is designed to help advertisers measure the impact of their ad campaigns without tracking users. It doesn’t help kill the advertising industry — it gives them another way to do what they need to do without compromising the security of the people opening the ads. For example, if you click or tap an ad, the advertiser will only know that the ad has been clicked or tapped, but they won’t know who clicked or tapped it or exactly when. What privacy preserving ad measurement does is anonymize those taps, or "clicks," so that advertisers only see that somebody tapped the ad, not that you did. This helps support the app developers and the advertising system by giving them more knowledge without adding any risk to you. This feature entails the following when it is enabled:

  • You will not be able to be uniquely identified by advertisers, merchants or other third parties.
  • Your interaction with ads will not be tracked across websites or apps. Safari will protect your privacy while reporting the ad activity.
  • Safari’s attribution reports will not contain any identifying personal information.
  • If you click an ad or purchase something by clicking the ad, no one, including the advertisers, merchants, and Apple, will be able to track you as the clicker or purchaser.

The feature is built into Safari and runs on your iPhone, iPad or Mac, making it impossible for anyone to see any of the ad-related data.
When Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement is turned off, Safari will not report anything about the ad performances. Apple says that ads are an integral part of the web. If you enable this, you will be helping ad companies without giving out your personal data. Ads are the primary way that websites make money, and without money, no one would be interested in creating websites.

How To Enable Or Disable Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement

Now that you know what “Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement” does, it is up to you to keep it on or turn it off. If you want to enable or disable it, here is how you can do this:

On an iPhone or iPad

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap Safari.
  3. Scroll to the bottom and choose Advanced.
  4. Turn Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement on or off.

On a Mac

  1. Open Safari browser.
  2. Click Safari in the menu bar.
  3. Click on Settings.
  4. Click on Advanced.
  5. Click Privacy.
  6. Check or uncheck the box for Allow privacy-preserving measurement of ad effectiveness.
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By Kevin Shaw Editor
Kevin Shaw is a seasoned tech journalist based in Los Angeles with a penchant for all things Apple. He started writing about Apple products in 2007 and it's been a love affair ever since. He has spent over a decade testing and writing about iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other Apple products. In his spare time, he likes nothing more than catching up with the latest news and sports podcasts on the beach.
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