Apple could start displaying ads on your iPhone

Aug 15, 2022

Apple is reportedly working on a way to display ads on its apps on iPhones. The news comes via a report by Mark Gurman on Bloomberg (paywalled article).

Apple could start displaying ads in its apps on your iPhone

Apple isn't the first company to try this, many Android OEMs display ads on their phones, notably Xiaomi with its MIUI. Xiaomi is an internet company first, and an OEM next. The low prices of its phones attracts many buyers, creating a large userbase to which it can serve ads. Samsung threw its hat in the ring by displaying ads in its Weather app, even on its premium flagship devices. But the idea backfired badly after users lashed out at the company, which in turn forced the electronics giant to reverse its decision.

Image courtesy: Bloomberg.

But with Android, you can usually get rid of the bloatware and ads by flashing a custom ROM. That requires a bit of technical experience, and a computer. With iOS, you don't have such flexible options.

Current state of Ads in iOS and macOS

Apple currently displays ads in certain areas of iOS and macOS. There are three kinds of ads in its ecosystem. The ads that you may see in the Apple News and Stocks apps, are similar to those you come across on websites, i.e. third party ads.

The App Store has its own ads system in place, that allows developers to promote their apps. Apple recently updated the App Store with controversial changes that promote subscription based apps, a new policy allows developers to extend subscriptions, and even hike the price without notifying users. The Today tab will soon start displaying ads, and so will app listings.

App Store ads on iOS

The Cupertino company has also been promoting sports content in the Apple TV+ app, specifically Friday Night Baseball. This one's a bit understandable, since it is a service offered within the app. There is one more way Apple advertises its own products, the Settings app in iOS may promote Apple Music, iCloud, etc. You can usually dismiss these suggestions, but they do come back.

First party ads are okay in my opinion, since the data will not be sold to other companies. Third party ads, however, are a big no-no. Not only do they pose a risk for privacy, such ads will make the devices seem cheap.

Apple has been pretty impressive in protecting the privacy of users. Most of its telemetry options are opt-in, i.e., the settings are not enabled by default, which is the right way to handle user data. It also has an App Tracking Transparency system, sort of like permission controls, to prevent apps from tracking you across websites and other apps. You may disable personalized ads from the Settings > Privacy & Security section. This won't provide complete protection from trackers, but it offers an additional layer to secure your privacy.

Of course, one might argue that using an ad-blocker or DNS could solve the problem. But, these aren't ideal solutions, these are workarounds, and not something that you'd expect with an out-of-the-box experience. Besides, not everyone is tech-savvy enough to do these things.

Gurman is a reliable source for Apple related news, so ads coming to iOS could well be true. Ads and privacy don't mix well, it remains to be seen how users will react to the change. The company views ads as a great discovery tool for app developers.

According to Gurman, the company may expand ads to Apple Maps, Apple Podcasts and Apple Books. As for the ads in the Maps app, it is expected to serve ads for featured places (who pay to be ranked on top) like in Yelp. Similarly, publishers and authors could buy ad space to promote their books and podcasts. He also speculates that Apple TV+ could have an ad supported tier, not unlike Disney+ with ads, to offer older shows, and help promote the paid tiers.

What do you think about seeing ads on a $1000 iPhone or Mac? Is that something you find acceptable?

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  1. Mele said on August 24, 2022 at 2:09 pm

    This is disgusting. I let the younger generations convince me I needed a smart phone (instead of the little non-smart one I had). It was a terrible decision when I purchased an iPhone XR. There was zero chance I would purchase an android phone because I block ALL Google on my computers and I would never buy a phone (of all things) that is basically Google.

    My mistake was in thinking Apple was actually concerned about privacy, etc. This iPhone was my first and last Apple purchase. I will just use my landline (which I, of course, kept when I got the iPhone). The only time I will miss the smart phone is when traveling and that is very seldom in recent years.

  2. JohnIL said on August 24, 2022 at 1:57 am

    Honestly, I am not surprised by this in the least. Apple has always explored ways to make more and more profit. Never leaving any potential untapped. Yet, they seem to have no problem finding people to buy their products. I could say the same for Microsoft as well, who has also explored the ad revenue path within its own software. At least Google makes no claim its not a ad revenue company first. I never bought into Apple privacy pitch either as they always manage to create some marketing scheme to sell more stuff.

  3. TelV said on August 21, 2022 at 1:35 pm

    Well, I guess it’s because Apple needs extra funds to pay for hardware changes to their products, or at least in the EU:

    Can’t go using our 42.5% profit margins for that now can we.

    The EU is also proposing a 7 year warranty on all smartphones which is also a good thing.

  4. DGK said on August 17, 2022 at 6:41 am

    I don’t understand why people are getting fooled by Apple’s propaganda that Apple doesn’t like ad money.
    Google pays Apple 10 billion dollars every year. 10 billion dollars. These money come from ads. What if they don’t add them to Apple’s revenue as ad money? The brutal truth is that this revenue for Apple comes from ads.
    Also the last days it has been revealed by report from the Wall Street Journal that Apple and Facebook were previously in secret talks to strike up a business partnership, with Apple proposing several business arrangements to Facebook to “build a business together.” They did not reach an agreement, so Apple started an ongoing privacy war against Facebook because they care about our privacy lol.

  5. Bindere Dundat said on August 16, 2022 at 4:29 pm

    I see this as an overall good thing, if it’s true.
    Maybe the sheeple are wising up to the fact that they are being fleeced.
    They might be slowing down their buying or looking elsewhere for their next purchase.
    The Fruit Company has decided to be proactive in it’s search for revenue.
    Who am I fooling? Myself probably.
    Sheeple are stupid. The majority will never wise up.
    The morons will eat this up and pay to get more shoved down their gullets.

  6. kalmly said on August 16, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    Only days ago I laid out a small fortune to purchase a new iPhone.
    Checking weather shows me 3 apps to download before it will take me to the weather page. So-one more slide before I can get where I want to go. Same with Health App. At least they aren’t jumping around the screen. And so far they are all possible additions to apps I already have installed and those are few. I sure do not want to be bombarded with ads for Amazon’s products or traveling promotions. Let us hope Apple re-thinks any plans to destroy itself.

  7. hg said on August 16, 2022 at 3:37 pm

    Greed, greed, greed!!!!!!!

    1. ShintoPlasm said on August 16, 2022 at 3:54 pm

      Greeeeeeeeeed!!!! Cackle cackle

  8. pHROZEN gHOST said on August 16, 2022 at 2:52 pm

    How long before you have to put up with several ads each time you need to make a call?

    Could be troubling if you need to call 911.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on August 16, 2022 at 3:53 pm

      “Do YOU want to talk to us to discuss your problems? Why not consider some mumbo-jumbo unregulated medication while you wait for our friendly officers to finish eating their donuts?”

  9. Sloth said on August 16, 2022 at 1:07 pm

    I shall be pretty pissed if they add adverts to the Today screen on iOS as I use that frequently.

    Considering the premium that users pay for Apple hardware, adding adverts seems like an insult.

  10. piomiq said on August 16, 2022 at 12:14 pm

    WTF. They still have not enough…..

  11. Iron Heart said on August 16, 2022 at 10:30 am

    @Martin Brinkmann

    > But with Android, you can usually get rid of the bloatware and ads by flashing a custom ROM. That requires a bit of technical experience, and a computer.

    No, it doesn’t require any technical experience. If you got a Pixel, which you should have because it is the most Custom ROM-friendly device, then you can just go to the GrapheneOS website and use the web installer. Even a tech-hostile person could do this one.

    1. Iron Heart said on August 16, 2022 at 10:34 am

      > Apple has been pretty impressive in protecting the privacy of users.

      Also LOL, you really fell for their ads. The most glaring example to the contrary is that Apple operates one of the biggest mesh networks in existence, go look it up before you write such nonsense!

      1. Yash said on August 16, 2022 at 12:21 pm

        A man who is advising to buy Pixel is talking about privacy. Pixel’s market share is super low, market reach is limited, weekly software issues and cheap hardware. Didn’t you knew that?

        Anyway there was nothing wrong with what Martin wrote. Custom ROMs requires technical experience and a computer. Main reason why majority doesn’t even bother unless they have a good reason to do it.

      2. Iron Heart said on August 16, 2022 at 4:17 pm


        > A man who is advising to buy Pixel is talking about privacy.

        Hehe, I didn’t say “Buy the Pixel, unbox it, and then use it as is.” (although that’s comparable to an iPhone privacy-wise out of the gate)… I said “Install GrapheneOS, then use it!”, which is not quite the same thing. And the Pixel is the most Custom ROM-friendly device in existence.

        > Pixel’s market share is super low, market reach is limited

        Not where I live.

        > weekly software issues

        Can’t confirm and the GrapheneOS support forums don’t seem to indicate such.

        > cheap hardware

        Compared to what, pal? The hardware of the Pixel is perfectly fine. Please cite concrete issues if you know of any.

        > Custom ROMs requires technical experience

        No, it doesn’t. Are you familiar with the GrapheneOS web installer, or are you not?

        > majority

        …is happy getting spied on by Google and Apple, for no good reason.

      3. Yash said on August 16, 2022 at 4:35 pm

        Instead of going back and forth and create unnecessary comment war, let’s talk about why Pixel smartphones are not the best options for masses –

        – Remember Pixel 4 and hi-fi sensor tech. That alone limited Pixel’s reach and since then Google hasn’t expanded its reach.

        – GrapheneOS is very good. No issues with that. But it can be used on only one device.

        – Whenever there is new launch of Pixel device, there are multiple complaints regarding battery, display, speaker issues.

        I mean why we use smartphones – coz we can’t carry laptop everywhere. You slide mobile into your pocket and use it. Effortless. Unfortunately nothing is effortless about Pixel, not in default rom and since hardware is cheap, not in custom ROM either.

      4. ShintoPlasm said on August 16, 2022 at 3:51 pm

        Not to mention that many banking apps don’t run on custom ROMs.

      5. Iron Heart said on August 16, 2022 at 4:23 pm


        > Not to mention that many banking apps don’t run on custom ROMs.

        Translation: Your installation does not pass the SafetyNet check.

        You can’t generalize like that, it really depends on the app! Even if the SafetyNet check fails, why don’t you have a secondary phone for that purpose only? Used Android phones can be had for $50 on eBay if you don’t need the newest stuff, and most banking apps support very old Android versions even.

        Good enough tradeoff for me if that means I don’t feed my main usage to the Google machine for no apparent reason.

  12. Allwynd said on August 16, 2022 at 5:54 am

    Some people frown upon when you call Apple users sheep, but this only enforces the stereotype. I buy below $200 Android phones and I know what I’m getting for that kind of money. It’s because I don’t make a lot of money and because I don’t want more out of a phone anyways. If someone gifted me a brand new, top-of-the-line iPhone, I will sell it without even opening the box, get a $200 Android and use the rest of the money for other daily expenses like food and whatever else.

    I have a friend of mine who’s really proud that he made the switch to Apple, both for laptop and phone, the thing is he isn’t buying them with his own money, his parents are. I wonder how many more Apple users are like that – with a lot of disposable income and act very proud and braggy when in reality Apple looks more and more like a social experiment for counting how many dumb people are going to buy into this scam.

  13. Anonymous said on August 16, 2022 at 2:43 am

    This is horrible. These big tech companies need to be broke up and fined for this behavior.

  14. Tachy said on August 16, 2022 at 2:29 am


    PS @Tom, “losing” only has one o.

    I only bother to mention it because I’ve never seen you mispell a word before.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 16, 2022 at 8:50 am

      @Tachy, finger-loose I guess :=) Thanks for correcting. I do make mistakes, some far more important. Even in French, my mother-tongue!

  15. Jack said on August 16, 2022 at 1:31 am

    Remember boys and girls, in the long run, the only way to use any kind of computer without it inevitably becoming an abusive, dark-pattern infested, ad-slinging, privacy violating dumpster fire, is to use Linux. It happened to Windows, and it will inevitably happen to any platform controlled by a capitalist corporation.

    We don’t use Linux because it’s free, we use it because it’s Free. I.e. if some corporation pushes an unwelcome agenda onto us, then we flip them the bird, fork the project, and undo the damage. They literally can’t stop us.

  16. Tom Hawack said on August 16, 2022 at 12:17 am

    So we have Apple that could start displaying ads on your iPhone,
    and Microsoft displaying ads to some Office 2021 users []


    Google execs threaten workers with layoffs: ‘There will be blood on the streets’ []

    What’s up, what’s going on with GAFAM, winds of panic because profit is not rising at it should? They’re not loosing money, they’re increasing profit less than expected.

    They’re not loosing money, or are they? In business loosing money starts when you haven’t gained what you could have. In life loosing money means loosing your house.

    If you wanna save a buck run after the bus rather than taking it, it you wanna save ten bucks run after the taxi.
    Sounds surrealistic? Wild business mentalities are. They’d run after a snail if it could provide an extra penny.

    1. Yash said on August 16, 2022 at 12:15 pm

      Business can be done in many ways. However lately some top executives and board members have become lazy and have started behaving as a vulture capitalists. Instead of growing it organically, let’s increase the market share as soon as possible without taking sustainability into account. These tech companies have saturated their market real quick without strong chain. Their revenue and market cap increased dramatically but as the saying goes – Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity and cash is king. Sooner or later that lack of cash flow will return to burst the bubble. Facebook’s bubble has been bursted already and rest are in line.

      Plus since they don’t make sound financial decisions, for some time they have been selling their future cake to eat in the present. But that always has consequences. Once projected revenue fails to materialise, panic sets in.

  17. ECJ said on August 15, 2022 at 9:29 pm

    Never trust an American company. And especially not a Silicon Valley company.

    Come to think of it, nor a Chinese company. Or a Russian company. Or a—. Ah nuts, when did so many companies start becoming so f#!king hostile towards people who buy their products. I think Europeans should create their own operating system and screw everyone else.

    1. Max Zorin said on August 15, 2022 at 11:05 pm

      They have – look up e-foundation /e/ os or iode.

      They sell phones with modded privacy orientated android eco systems.

  18. Tony said on August 15, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    Article headline has a typo. I don’t have an iPhone.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on August 15, 2022 at 9:27 pm

      Very funny, clap clap clap.

  19. ShintoPlasm said on August 15, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    WTF. Steve Jobs would have thrown the entire senior leadership off the roof of Apple HQ for even considering such a greedy travesty. It’s not as if they even need to monetise their iPhones even more, considering their huge profit margins…

  20. Paul(us) said on August 15, 2022 at 5:56 pm

    1. Falcon Supernova iPhone 6 Pink Diamond – $48.5 Million
    2. Stuart Hughes iPhone 4s Elite Gold – $9.4 Million
    3. Stuart Hughes iPhone 4 Diamond Rose Edition – $8 Million
    4. Goldstriker iPhone 3GS Supreme – $3.2 Million
    5. iPhone 3G Kings Button – $2.5 Million
    And still adds on your phone. Lol.

    1. Peterc said on August 15, 2022 at 11:56 pm

      @Paul(us): Are you making fun of my 48.5-million-dollar phone? I *need* it, to make phone calls! ;-)

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