Privacy issues make Apple reject UDID-accessing apps

Apple has been facing an impending Congress investigation over the level of privacy it offers to iOS users. A lot of concerns had been raised about the way certain apps like Path were allowed to take iOS users' private contact details and other data, seemingly without any safety mechanism to prevent them.

via Wikimedia

Perhaps the Congress investigation is why Apple has started rejecting iOS apps that need access to a device's UDID, or Unique Device Identifier. This is actually a policy change that Apple had warned developers about nearly half a year back, as it had decided to deprecate UDIDs. Although it apparently takes about a year for a feature to be deprecated (as devs need to adjust their code accordingly), the intense pressure Apple is facing may be forcing its hand.

A UDID is a unique 40 character alphanumeric (hex) code that acts as a serial number to identify devices. Due to it being practically impossible for two devices to have the same UDID, mobile networks use it to identify a device like the Apple iPhone or iPad. It's also useful for advertisers, analytics companies and app testers.

The hunt for alternatives to the UDID is on, but to no avail so far. Some have considered adopting MAC address as a replacement for a UDID, or even using the openUDID protocol, but there hasn't been a standard
decided upon for adoption yet.

Apple had faced plenty of flak after the launch of its iOS 4 after it was revealed that the mobile OS constantly tracked its users' location data. The fiasco involving Path a couple of months back eventually set in motion the chain of events culminating in Apple seeing red over the sensitive data that apps could access in the first place. UDID-accessing apps seem to be the first to be affected by Apple's newfound intolerance to apps that tread in grey territory when it comes to privacy.


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