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Critical Update for Facebook Advertisers: What We Know About iOS 14.4

28 Jan 2021 Anthony Vespucci

in Digital, Strategy

At Stella Rising, we have been preparing for Apple’s new iOS 14.4, an update that prompts users to opt in to allow apps to track their activity upon leaving said app. The update has caused considerable tension between Apple and Facebook, with the latter running a marketing campaign against iOS 14.4, contending that the update will, “change the internet as we know it—for the worse.”

With the new update, upon signing into their apps, users will be prompted accordingly:

Screen Shot 2021-01-27 at 5.05.09 PMImage: Apple

As consumers are increasingly—and justifiably—concerned with privacy protection, many are expected to select “Ask App not to Track.” This will inhibit Facebook advertisers’ exposure to the action consumers take upon leaving the app and, say, shop for a piece of clothing on their favorite website. A byproduct of this change is that truly effective advertising tactics—like remarketing ads, a key conversion tactic for many ecommerce brands—will no longer be possible for these iOS users.


iOS 14.4 was made available on Tuesday, January 26th. This update was not a “forced” one, or one that even came with a notification of its availability. Thus, at this time, users still have to manually go into their settings to download the update, something only the more tech-enthusiast users will do vs. an immediate mass adoption.


At this time, Facebook and Apple are still engaging in a back-and-forth. Facebook has now said that they will not actually show the prompt until Apple provides official direction on when and how they will begin to enforce apps to comply. When Apple does demand compliance, the requirement will likely be that apps must adopt the ATT framework by a certain date; should they not, their app will be removed from the App Store. 


Apple needs to define enforcement and an enforcement date. Once that occurs, we are then looking at a minimum of 30 days before we can expect that the number of users who opt out is high enough that advertisers’ audience sizes are truly impacted.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely but for now, even with the update in users’ hands, we will not see any impact from an opt-out perspective.


While the approach to privacy in the digital world evolves daily, we know that 2021 will be a transformational year for digital marketing. At Stella Rising, we are on top of every change, our goal is to respect consumer privacy while helping brands reach their customers in the most efficient and effective ways possible. We will continue to update you on these changes and to offer guidance on how to shift challenges into opportunities.


If you are looking to grow your ecommerce business or have questions on how to navigate the sea changes within digital marketing, reach out to us.

Digital Strategy