iPhone and iPad Security

How to Disable Ad Tracking on iPhone and iOS Browsers

Dan Helyer Updated 22-06-2020

Even Apple collects your data for advertising purposes. The aim of this is to show you more relevant ads. But most of us don’t like the feeling that Apple is watching everything we do on our iPhones.


We’ll show you all the ways to turn off ad tracking in iOS and the major internet browsers on your iPhone. Apple may still collect data about you, but it won’t use that data to serve you ads.

About Ad Tracking on Your iPhone

Apple prides itself on protecting your privacy, but it still collects data about how you use your iPhone. Although Apple uses this data to show you targeted ads, it doesn’t share anything with third parties and keeps your data anonymous by removing any personal identifiers.

After analyzing your data, Apple places you in a group with at least 5,000 similar people. Apple then delivers the same targeted ads to everyone in that group. Third-party advertisers, such as Criteo services, can partner with Apple to target their tracked ads at particular groups of users.

The data Apple collects includes information about your device, location, search history, purchases, and apps. You can reduce the data Apple collects Boost Your iOS Privacy with These Settings and Tweaks We all know that governments and corporations collect information from your phone. But are you voluntarily giving away far more data than you realize? Let's look at how to fix that. Read More by disabling certain features on your iPhone, but you don’t need to if all you want is to stop targeted ads.

How to Turn Off Ad Tracking on Your iPhone

After turning off ad tracking on your iPhone, you’ll still see the same number of ads as you saw before. However, you’ll now see generic ads instead of targeted ones. The settings below affect the ads you see in the App Store, Apple News, and Stocks apps.


Disabling ad tracking on your iPhone also stops other advertising services—such as Criteo—from using Apple’s data to target you. Apple achieves this by replacing your unique identifier with all zeros. That way, it’s impossible to distinguish your data from anyone else with ad tracking turned off.

To disable ad tracking in iOS, change each of the settings below. You may also want to limit tracking in your internet browsers, which we’ll explain how to do after.

Limit Ad Tracking

To disable ad tracking on your iPhone, open the Settings app and tap on the Privacy option. At the bottom of the page, go to Advertising, then turn on the Limit Ad Tracking option.

This is also how you disable third-party advertisers, like Criteo services, from sending you targeted ads.


Limit Location-Based Ads

Apple may still use your iPhone’s location data to target you with location-based ads. You can disable this feature from the Location Services settings.

Open the Settings app and tap on the Privacy option. Go to Location Services, then scroll down and open System Services. Turn off the option for Location-Based Apple Ads.


Reset Advertising Identifier

You may want to reset your advertising identifier in addition to disabling ad tracking. This doesn’t delete the data Apple collected about you, but it makes it so that no one can link that data with you again. Apple achieves this by giving you a new identifying number with no link to your previous identifier.

Open the Settings app and go to Privacy > Advertising. Then tap the Reset Advertising Identifier button and confirm you want to Reset Identifier.

Turn Off Background App Refresh

Background App Refresh allows apps to keep running even when you aren’t using them. This is incredibly useful for some apps, as it allows them to back up data or receive new messages. But other apps take advantage of this access to track your data and send it to advertisers.


Reduce ad tracking on your iPhone by disabling Background App Refresh for untrustworthy apps.

Open the Settings app and go to General > Background App Refresh. Turn it off entirely or use the toggles to disable it for specific apps.

How to Turn Off Ad Tracking on iPhone Internet Browsers

Third-parties can still track your online activity and send you targeted ads through your internet browser. This is difficult to stop completely, but you can reduce ad tracking by changing your browser settings.

We’ll include instructions for each of the most popular iPhone browsers below. Alternatively, use one of these private phone browsers The 8 Best Private Browsers for Phones and Tablets Need a private browser compatible with Android, iPhone, or iPad? Try these options for secure private mobile browsing. Read More to protect your privacy without needing to change the settings.

Reduce Ad Tracking in Safari

There are lots of ways to improve your privacy in Safari 7 iOS Settings to Change If You Want Better Privacy in Safari If you're a privacy fanatic, Safari might not be the most obvious choice for a secure browser on iPhone. But Safari is packed with settings that boost your privacy. Read More . But if you want to disable ad tracking, you need to turn off cookies and prevent cross-site tracking. Unfortunately, using either of these options might cause certain websites to stop working, but that’s just the price you pay for privacy.

Open the Settings app and tap Safari. Under the Privacy & Security section, turn on the options to Prevent Cross-Site Tracking and to Block All Cookies.

Safari Privacy and Security settings

Reduce Ad Tracking in Google Chrome

The best way to reduce ad tracking in Google Chrome is to disable Google Lead services in your account settings. This is what Google uses to track your data and usage across every Google app.

Open the Google Chrome app and tap the three-dot menu () in the bottom-right corner to open the menu. Go to Settings and tap [Your Google Account] at the top of the screen, then select Personal info & privacy. Scroll down and select Ad settings, then turn off Ad personalization.

Reduce Ad Tracking in Mozilla Firefox

Thanks to its focus on privacy, Firefox enables several privacy features by default. But in case you turned them off by mistake, here’s how to check ad tracking is turned off for Firefox on your iPhone.

Open the Mozilla Firefox app and tap the three-line menu in the bottom-right corner to open the menu. Tap Settings and go to the Privacy section, then tap Tracking Protection. Turn on Enhanced Tracking Protection and choose between Standard and Strict protection.

Strict protection blocks more ad trackers, but it may stop some websites from working.

Don’t Forget About Social Media

It’s almost impossible to completely eliminate targeted ads from your life. We’ve shown you how to turn off ad tracking in iOS and on iPhone web browsers. But social media companies can still track you and fill your news feed with targeted ads.

Meanwhile, Facebook notoriously follows you across the internet even if you aren’t signed in. So disabling Facebook’s ad tracking Facebook Is Tracking You! Here's How to Stop It Many entities are tracking your internet activity, including social media sites like Facebook. Here's what you need to know. Read More is one of the best ways to get rid of even more targeted ads on your iPhone.

Related topics: iPhone Tips, Online Advertising, Online Privacy, Safari Browser, Smartphone Privacy, Targeted Advertising, User Tracking.

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  1. Charles Smith
    June 6, 2018 at 5:56 am

    Adblocking incidence is raised in recent years causing revenue losses to publishers and advertisers. I was also looking for some solution that can disable adblock in Safari. Then my friend suggested me to try Adzsafe. It works as an anti adblocker in all browsers. It surprisingly disables adblocker in any browser that has adblocker installed and supports my ads to load safely. I started profiting revenues instantly. I would suggest you to use Adzsafe.

  2. Gord Richardson
    December 2, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    The 'Prevent' and 'Ask' features are NOT new to iOS 11 and I have used them since I first discovered them in my exploration of Privacy features. I go into website data at least 4 or 5 times a day to remove tracking cookies and adware and even with those features engaged, the volume of that garbage is mind-boggling. I usually find 6 to 8 Google adware items and using Google itself is all it takes to pollute my computer with the entire complement. If you want to shock yourself, open the Privacy tab and click on 'Manage website data' and look at the volume of this garbage. If you don't recognize what you see as originating from a website you know you've visited, hold down 'command' and click all such items then click 'Remove' at the foot. Websites like criteo specialize in tracking browsing behaviour and then tailoring the ads it serves to match your behaviour. gstatic is one of the Google statistical cookies, and scorecardresearch and statcounter are other obvious ones. Start 'cleaning house' at least once a day!

  3. Fadel Zaki Akbar
    December 1, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Very useful article. Can access to all website