Google has followed in the footsteps of Apple and will allow users of its Android operating system to opt-out of being tracked by advertisers.


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Android users will be able to opt-out of tracking by the end of 2021

The changes will be implemented later this year as a growing number of marketers and app developers are coming to terms with iOS 14.5 transparency changes.

Android users have previously been able to opt-out of targeted ads but developers could still access device IDs for ad targeting.

Now, Google plans to change all that by hiding device tags.

Google provided some information for developers on the changes to come:

“To help developers and ad/analytics service providers with compliance efforts and respect user choice, they will be able to receive notifications for opt-out preferences. Additionally, apps targeting Android 12 will need to declare a Google Play services normal permission in the manifest file. This Google Play services phased rollout will affect apps running on Android 12 devices starting late 2021 and will expand to affect apps running on devices that support Google Play in early 2022.” 

Essentially, developers will be responsible for complying with Google’s new policy changes and those who continue to use a persistent ID (other than ad ID) will receive a policy violation.

Google hopes that the move will instil greater trust from consumers in its services.

Advertising ID

The advertising ID is a unique, user-resettable ID for advertising, provided by Google Play services. It gives users better controls and provides developers with a simple, standard system to continue to monetise their apps. It enables users to reset their identifier or opt out of personalised ads (formerly known as interest-based ads) within Google Play apps.

As part of the Google Play services update in late 2021, the advertising ID will be removed when a user opts out of personalisation using advertising ID in Android settings. Any attempts to access the identifier will receive a string of zeros instead of the identifier. To help developers and ad/analytics service providers with compliance efforts, and respect user choice, they will be able to receive notifications for opt-out preferences. Additionally, apps targeting Android 12 will need to declare a Google Play services normal permission in the manifest file.

This Google Play services phased rollout will affect apps running on Android 12 devices starting in late 2021 and will expand to affect apps running on devices that support Google Play in early 2022. In July, we will provide an alternative solution to support essential use cases such as analytics and fraud prevention.

Implement advertising ID

To implement advertising ID in your apps, you can use the Advertising ID API.

Policy requirements

The Google Play Developer Programme Policy requires that all updates and new apps uploaded to Google Play use the advertising ID (when available on a device) in place of any other device identifiers for any advertising purposes. You're responsible for ensuring that your apps are in compliance with policies regarding its usage, as well as all Play policies.

Apps using a persistent ID other than the advertising ID may receive a policy violation warning via the publisher site or the email address used to register the account. If you receive a warning, you should ensure that any published APKs comply with the advertising ID related guidance in the Developer Programme Policy. If you are using a third-party ad SDK, please contact the SDK maker to obtain a new version that complies with this new policy.

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