These days, whatever you do on the Internet easily ends up building a profile of your likes, behaviour, and demographic. If you are not careful, these digital footprints of whatever you do online winds up being traced back to you and served to you in the form of targeted advertising.
Online ads seem to follow you everywhere. And that’s because these targeted ads are built to understand your online buying preferences. As most of us spend much time of our casual surfing or social networking through our phones, why not learn how to make it harder for these mobile ads to track you?
Traditional marketing methods to track you on the Internet relies heavily on cookies, the tiny tracking tools on the web used to recognise you every time you return online.
However, on mobile apps there are no cookies. So in its place, to target and fingerprint app consumers, there are Mobile Advertising IDs (MAIDs) which uses user-resettable identifiers provided by the mobile device’s operating system. On Android these advertising IDs are known as AdID and for Apple they are IDFA.
These MAIDs help developers identify who is using their app and is linked to whatever data marketers collect from you. Nonetheless, the upside of having an ad ID designated to you is that iOS and Android allow you to reset it or zero it out.
This means that at any time you can clear out the ad profiles the marketers have collected about you and prevent them from growing more.
This can be done by turning on the feature on your device that essentially sends out a dummy ID that’s all zeros. By doing this, you will stop the tracking that apps were coordinating through your mobile advertising ID.
If you do not want to stop your mobile ads tracking altogether but would prefer to have a clear slate very once so often, you can navigate to those same screens and tap Reset Advertising ID on Android or Reset Advertising Identifier on iOS to cycle your ad ID and essentially force advertisers to start a new profile on you.
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