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iOS 14.5 release date looks imminent — here’s why

ios 14.5 release date
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

After six betas, it appears Apple is gearing up for a worldwide release of iOS 14.5. While the company hasn’t confirmed this, a flurry of App Store rejections indicates that a rollout is just around the corner.

A number of app developers told Forbes that they had begun to receive rejection letters from Apple highlighting section 3.3.9 of the Developer Program License Agreement — a segment of the company’s instructions outlining the way that user data is used and shared.  

“We found in our review that your app collects user and device information to create a unique identifier for the user's devices,” the rejection reads. “Apps that fingerprint the user's device in this way are in violation of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement and are not appropriate for the App Store. 

“Specifically, your app uses algorithmically converted device and usage data to create a unique identifier in order to track the user,” the letter continues. While Apple will allow tracking going forward, it’s only acceptable with the express permission of the user via an opt-in prompt. 

This is a relatively new set of rules introduced with iOS 14, but Apple planned on giving developers a grace period to introduce what could be a fairly fundamental set of changes. It's such a big deal that Apple set up a dedicated page explaining the requirements to developers. In short, the release of iOS 14.5 was the deadline for these app tracking transparency policies to be introduced to apps, and if Apple is now actively enforcing the updated rules, logically that means that the update can’t be too far away.

While the Forbes report only lists a handful of apps receiving the rejection, including Heetch, Radish Fiction and InnoGames, this was apparently only scratching the surface of impacted developers. According to mobile marketing analyst Eric Seufert, Apple was initially rejecting any app with the Adjust SDK installed — software that is “trusted by over 50,000 apps worldwide,” according to the company website.

Since then, Adjust has reportedly removed code that accessed device data such as CPU type, available memory, charging state and battery level. These are all things that can be used to identify a specific handset without an advertising identifier.

An update to iOS often coincides with new hardware to take advantage, and that seems to fit neatly with a rumored Apple April event. A iPad Pro 2021 is expected, and given that iPadOS and iOS share much of the same DNA, it appears that the two may be aligning for a joint update this month.