Apple has begun rejecting game and app submissions that access UDIDs, or the fixed Unique Device Identifiers for iOS devices, preventing new titles from checking users' private data.
This change in policy could affect many developers, mobile ad networks, and other companies that rely on UDIDs to transmit user data, then deliver targeted advertisements in their iPhone or iPad games based on users' information.
It will also affect releases that need to identify users and access their device's UDIDs for other reasons, such as TestFlight, the free app enabling users to beta test software from iOS developers.
"In the next month or two, this is going to have an impact on all ad networks and apps using advertising," said Andy Yang, CEO of mobile game monetization firm Playhaven, according to a report
Apple is said to have tasked two of its ten app review teams to reject all apps that access UDIDs. It intends to increase that number to four of its review groups this week, and eventually to all ten teams. It's unclear if older games will be affected.
Yang and others developers claim that despite this change, apps that make sure to ask for users' permission before storing their UDIDs have managed to pass the App Store's approval process.
Apple started steering developers away from using UDIDs last August, when an update to its developer documentation warned app makers that it would phase them out. The company advised developers to create unique user identifiers for their apps instead.
This enforcement of that warning comes days after Congress sent letters to Apple and iOS developers asking about how their apps collect user information -- part of an investigation after social networking app Path was caught collecting users' address book data.
The Federal Trade Commission also recently investigated
the App Store and Google's Android Market for privacy law violations; the consumer protection agency found that many apps for children failed to disclose how they use kids' personal data.
Apple has since made moves indicating a commitment to keeping users' data safe, signing an agreement (along with other companies like Google, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft) last February that vowed to increase privacy protections on its platform.