Android 12 will feature a slew of privacy features from a new Setting dashboard to the ability to disable app access to the camera and microphone. Another update later this year will make it so that users are better able to opt-out of personalized ads in Android applications.

Google Play services has long made available an advertising ID that third-party developers can use to monetize their applications in a standard manner. Users can reset and generate a new identifier at any time and also have the option to “Opt out of Ads Personalization.” This tells “apps not to use your advertising ID to build profiles or show you personalized ads.”

According to an updated document for developers this morning, an upcoming change will make it so that Android users with this privacy preference enabled will have a more effective and stringent opt-out over personalized ads. In those cases, the identifier will no longer be available to third parties with those apps just receiving a “string of zeroes.” Developers will be made aware when an end user decides to opt-out so existing data can be removed.

To help developers and ad/analytics service providers with compliance efforts and respect user choice, they will be able to receive notifications for opt-out preferences. Additionally, apps targeting Android 12 will need to declare a Google Play services normal permission in the manifest file. 

In the past, applications still saw the ad ID as developers could use it for analytics or fraud prevention purposes. As part of this change, Google next month will share an alternative for those “essential use cases.” 

Google’s change comes as Apple earlier this year made it so that apps have to first request permission before tracking users through the iOS IDFA system. This Android move is more general and applies at a higher level. The opt-out and ability to reset is available from Settings app > Google > Ads.

This change to the personalized ads opt-out process will first go into effect in late 2021 for apps running on Android 12. Google will then expand to all applications with Play services early next year.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: