iOS 7 eliminates MAC address as a tracking option

A UI overhaul and new consumer features aren't all that's new in iOS 7

On the heels of the May 1 deadline for UDID tracking, it looks like Apple has taken another step to consolidate ad tracking on their preferred Advertising Identifier (IDFA). Multiple published reports are indicating that in iOS 7, Apple is putting an end to tracking using the MAC address.

Fiksu's data is consistent with what's being reported: iOS 7 devices -- all beta testers, at this point -- always return a MAC address of 02:00:00:00:00:00.  We've seen this value returned for more than 23,000 unique iOS 7 devices recorded in our event logs from yesterday.

The MAC address, a hardware based identifier, has long been a way for advertisers to have a permanent,  unique identifier for each device, providing a stable tracking option as an alternative to the controversy-plagued UDID.  However, the same privacy concerns raised about the UDID apply equally to the MAC address -- it just received less publicity. 

After the introduction of the now-standard IDFA and the elimination of the UDID by Apple, most networks and advertisers made the decision to move away from MAC address as well. For those who have yet to make the switch, this announcement makes clear that the window to migrate completely to IDFA is closing.

So what does it mean? For Fiksu and our clients, this news has little impact. The Fiksu SDK works fine in iOS 7, and we will continue to use multiple tracking techniques, including the IDFA, digital fingerprinting, and HTML5 to provide seamless, continuous tracking and the widest range of advertising options for our clients. 

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