Developers are on standby for Apple's UDID successor

June 11, 2012 by Nancy Owano weblog
Apple logo

( -- The word is out that Apple will replace the Unique Device Identifier (UDID) that is meant for mobile application developers trying to track who uses their software. Apple, according to reports, has devised a better solution for developers that does not generate a web of privacy concerns and complaints. The iPad and iPhone maker is developing a new app tracking tool that will provide developers with the information they seek, while protecting users’ privacy more than the UDID approach.

The UDID is a unique string of alphanumeric text attached to every iPhone and iPad. was allowing developers to track UDIDs for some time before running afoul of consumer complaints and privacy watchdogs. Concerns over apps storing and making use of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch UDIDs began popping up in 2010. Security researchers discovered apps that were transmitting user data. Lawyers referred to the UDID as a "supercookie," a term used for cookie-like strategies of tracking users across browser sessions.

Last year, Apple told developers that it was going to phase out the UDID, killing off access with iOS 5, and warned developers to avoid using it. Later on, Apple went further and began rejecting apps that accessed a device's UDID code in any way. With Apple’s announcement of the UDID phase-out, developers began examining workarounds, with one option being to create their own proprietary opt-in identification systems.

Sources talking to The Wall Street Journal say that Apple does plan to respond with a new, more privacy-conscious system that will deploy tagging independent of any one or . The new system may rely on a sequence of numbers that are not tied to any specific device.

To be sure, an announcement by Apple of a new tracking system would be conveniently well timed if issued at the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC 2012), in San Francisco, on Monday, June 11 to June 15. This is the event, after all, where developers and Apple engineers meet and discuss objectives and plans.

Reports suggest, on the other hand, that the new ID will not be announced until after the San Francisco event, and that it is expected to be “detailed” in the coming weeks.

Tracking is an important exercise for those developers who need statistics about who is using their applications and how the apps are being used. Developers at Apple’s WWDC will most likely be looking for more helpful clues about a new tracker solution.

Explore further: Apple's Jobs to give keynote at developers conference

Related Stories

Adobe shares soar on Apple announcement

September 9, 2010

Adobe shares soared on Thursday after Apple appeared to open the door for programs converted from Adobe's popular Flash video software to run on the iPhone and other Apple devices.

Apple sets new operating systems for iPhone, Mac

March 28, 2011

Apple said Monday that it will unveil the next generation operating systems for the iPhone and the Macintosh computer at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco in June.

Senator calls for smartphone app privacy policies

May 25, 2011

(AP) -- A key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee is challenging Apple Inc. and Google Inc. to require all developers that make apps for their mobile devices to adopt formal privacy policies.

Chinese downloads 25 billionth Apple app

March 5, 2012

Apple announced Monday said that downloads from its App store had hit 25 billion, with a person in eastern China grabbing a $10,000 prize for taking the tally to the landmark level.

Hot Apple developers rally gets June 11 keynote

May 29, 2012

A sold-out Apple gathering devoted to tailoring programs for the company's coveted gadgets will kick off in San Francisco on June 11 with a keynote presentation by top executives.

Recommended for you

Riddle of cement's structure is finally solved

February 9, 2016

Concrete is the world's most widely used construction material, so abundant that its production is one of the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Yet answers to some fundamental questions about the microscopic structure ...

Tiny diatoms boast enormous strength

February 8, 2016

Diatoms are single-celled algae organisms, around 30 to 100 millionths of a meter in diameter, that are ubiquitous throughout the oceans. These creatures are encased within a hard shell shaped like a wide, flattened cylinder—like ...

Search engines will know what you want ... sooner

February 8, 2016

If you enter "Oklahoma" in a search engine, you might get a travelogue, news about the oil industry, Oklahoma State football scores or an article on Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. What appears at the top of the list might ...

Claims for solar cell efficiency put to test at NREL

February 8, 2016

The sheet of paper taped to the door of Keith Emery's office tells the story. On the paper is a simple fever chart showing the improvements made in increasing the efficiency of two dozen types of solar cells. Some of the ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jun 11, 2012
This is good. Developers need info about how apps are used, since just asking people will result in a lot of nice-to-have features that at the end of the day, nobody uses.

The honest developer can do without privacy violating info.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.