Apple finally released its much-anticipated App Tracking Transparency feature with the launch of iOS 14.5, and its incredibly helpful if you want some fine-grain control over which apps can track other aspects of your digital activity. Thats assuming, of course, the feature isnt grayed out for you.
There seems to be a number of iOS users who cant seem to access Apples App Tracking Transparency feature at all. When they pull up Settings > Privacy > Tracking, the setting is present, they just cant adjust it in any way. Heres how that looks in both instances, with un-grayed on top and grayed on the bottom:
Apple recently published a support page describing three scenarios in which you might be unable to adjust with that critical toggle:
- For users with child accounts or under age 18 by birth year, signed in with their Apple ID
- If your Apple ID is managed by an educational institution or uses a configuration profile that limits tracking
- If your Apple ID was created in the last 3 days
However, that list doesnt quite cover everyones experiences. And Ive seen all kinds of troubleshooting techniques people have tried in hopes to ungray the App Tracking Transparency toggleup to, and including, restoring their iPhone from a backup or factory-resetting it.
You dont need to get that extreme, though. If you cant enable Allow Apps to Request to Track, thats annoying, but it could be a lot worse. Its untoggled state actually means that youre denying apps the ability to ask for additional permissions to track you. When off, by default, apps are subject to the following restrictions:
…the app developer cant access the system advertising identifier (IDFA), which is often used to track. The app is also not permitted to track your activity using other information that identifies you or your device, like your email address.
So, really, its an annoying issue thats potentially a bug, but its only keeping you from loosening your privacy, not bettering it. If you must have an ungrayed setting, then heres what I recommend trying:
- Start with strategic restarts:Restart your iPhone, sign in and sign out of the App Store, then try signing in and out of iCloud (especially via Settings > Apple ID > Media & Purchases, which some claim to have had success using). Note that you might only be able to get the toggle working temporarily, so check back after a few hours to see if you can still adjust it.Also, try rebooting your iPhone after you do each sign-out (one at a time), and then sign back in when your iPhone powers back up again.
- Adjust Personalized Recommendations: This setting, found via Settings > Privacy > Apple Advertising, is another troubleshooting technique Ive seen mentioned. Im not sure why this would directly connect to app requests, but its an easy on/off thats worth 10 seconds to try.
- Upgrade to iOS 14.6 beta 1: This ones a bit more drastic, but Ive also seen reports that people have been able to unlock the feature by bumping up to to the developer beta of the next iOS update. I wouldnt recommend doing this if you absolutely need a stable iPhone in which all of your apps and features work perfectlythis being the very first developer beta for iOS 14.6but its an option.
Note that having the option grayed out is different than having the option enabled and having no apps to manage. The latter is a normal, expected behavior; when an app needs these permissions or you install a new one that wants them, the app will ask you, and youll be able to change your decision when it then shows up on that screen. If nothings there right now, dont sweat it.