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Facebook is still tracking your iPhone on iOS 14.5, but there’s a way to limit its access

Published May 27th, 2021 2:53PM EDT
Facebook tracking
Image: Facebook

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Apple launched iOS 14.5 about a month ago, and the highlight of the update was a new privacy feature called App Tracking Transparency which forces apps to ask permission before tracking them across apps and websites owned by other companies. Facebook was unsurprisingly less than thrilled about the debut of this feature and went as far as to launch a campaign against Apple in order to convince the public that the feature would hurt small businesses. Apple wasn’t swayed, and so App Tracking Transparency went live on iOS and iPadOS as planned in April.

If you own an iPhone or iPad, you have undoubtedly seen the App Tracking Transparency prompts in recent weeks, asking you whether or not you want to allow the app to track you. If you choose not to allow tracking, the developer will be barred from accessing your advertising identifier, but you likely won’t be surprised to learn that there are other ways for apps to collect your data.

As Hot Hardware notes, Facebook still has plenty of ways to track you even if you utilize App Tracking Transparency. The good news is that you can limit that tracking, but you’ll have to dive into the app’s settings and flip some switches if you want to limit Facebook’s access to your data.

First of all, most of these settings can be found in the menu tab of the Facebook app, which is the last tab on the right at the bottom of the app. From there, you’re going to want to scroll down to Settings & Privacy and then tap Settings. This is where you can make changes to your privacy settings.

One way that you can sever ties with Facebook is by turning off Location Services. Sometimes it’s fun to tag a restaurant, a park, or a bar when you’re traveling or meeting up with friends, but if you allow Facebook to access your location every time you use the app, it can track you everywhere you go. In fact, there is a specific setting for Location History that explicitly allows the social media platform to “build a history of precise locations received through Location Services on your device.”

Facebook’s face recognition feature is a tool that makes tagging friends and acquaintances in photos and videos a breeze, but it’s yet another way for the site to build a profile of you. You can turn it off in the settings as well. You can also decide who can see posts that you’re tagged in and decide whether or not you want to review tags people add to your posts as well as posts you’ve been tagged in.

If you have a Facebook account, you have already decided that you are willing to hand over a certain amount of your data, but there are a few ways that you can take back some control. Consider taking a few minutes to check your settings and make sure you’re comfortable with them.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.