Apple IDFA Changes: Common Questions & Next Steps

02/07/14

Update: Apple’s updated policy now allows applications to use the Apple IDFA to attribute app installs and post-install actions. The new policy outlines three scenarios for the acceptable use of Apple IDFA:

  1. Serve advertisements within an app
  2. Attribute app installation to a previously served advertisement
  3. Attribute a post-install action taken within the app to a previously served advertisement

Apsalar’s platform attributes install and post-install actions to your advertising campaigns and is in full compliance with Apple’s policies. We use the Apple IDFA for tracking, which gives consumers a choice about perticipating in interest-based advertising.


Last week, Apple began rejecting applications that access the device IDFA, but do not serve in-app ads.  While this has come as a surprise to SDK vendors, we have released updates to our product to comply with these changes.  This post will help answer common questions and map out specifically how you need to update your apps to ensure compliance.

If you have any questions about anything pertaining to changes to IDFA usage, please do not hesitate to contact us at support@apsalar.com.

Common Questions About Apple IDFA

What is an IDFA? 

The IDFA is a device identifier that is used to by many SDK providers for various reasons.  At Apsalar, we use the IDFA to measure user behavior in mobile apps.  Additionally, the IDFA is the shared identifier between an ad network and Apsalar, which allows us to report which networks delivered a particular download.

Will my app be rejected? 

If your app accesses the IDFA of a device and does not serve ads, your next submission may be rejected. Currently, we are seeing a low rate of rejection across our client base.  Conversely, if your app serves ads, you should see no issues with your next submission, whether you access the Apple IDFA or not.

Will my app be removed from the App Store?

We rarely, if ever, see apps pulled from the App Store.  This should not affect your current public release of your app(s).  However, assume that if you continue accessing the Apple IDFA, without serving ads, your next submission will be rejected.

How does this affect attribution tracking?

We have two methods for attribution tracking.  The first relies on matching a device’s IDFA at the point of ad click and first launch of the app.   Without access to the IDFA, this method will no longer work.  Fortunately, we also offer a digital fingerprinting solution that is an accurate method of attribution.  This method will continue working in a post-IDFA world.

How does this affect Facebook tracking?

There may be impacts to tracking installs, please contact Apsalar support for more information.

I don’t serve ads, how do I maintain compliance?

Apple’s stance on the IDFA will affect you in one of two ways, depending on how you use Apsalar.

In both cases, we have developed an SDK specifically to maintain compliance.  This version of the SDK is already available in your Apsalar account in the section “Get the SDK” and labeled “Apsalar-iOS-6.0.6-NoAdSupport.zip”.  Here is additional detail:

1) You use Apsalar for in-app analytics but not attribution tracking

You won’t experience any negative side effects of this change in your app’s functionality with Apsalar’s SDK, but will need to make two small changes to your app before your next submission:

  1. Check if you’ve included support for Apple’s AdSupport Framework.  If you have, simply remove this framework from your application before submission.  Apple’s Developer Documentation provides more information about the AdSupport Framework (Please note, access to Apple’s Developer portal is necessary to view this document).

If you’re building your app with XCode, it’s as easy as removing the binary link to the AdSupport framework library.

  1. Update to the new version of Apsalar’s iOS SDK without AdSupport.  This version does not contain any references to Apple’s AdSupport Framework.

2) You use Apsalar for in-app analytics and attribution tracking

Because we will no longer be able to use the IDFA for attribution tracking, we will move exclusively to tracking via digital fingerprinting.  We have a section of our support site dedicated to creating attribution tracking tags using digital fingerprinting.

In order to ensure Apple does not reject your next app version, you will need to make the following changes to your application prior to submission:

  1. Remove the AdSupport Framework from your application.  Apple’s Developer Documentation provides more information about the AdSupport Framework (Please note, access to Apple’s Developer portal is necessary to view this document).

If you’re building your app with XCode, it’s as easy as removing the binary link to the AdSupport framework library.

  1. Update to the new version of Apsalar’s iOS SDK without AdSupport.  This version does not contain any references to Apple’s AdSupport Framework.
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