How to Optimize Your iOS 14.5 Update Strategy with Pre-Permission Prompts

We know that data tracking is an important part of optimizing your apps for user engagement. It’s also a crucial factor in marketing and monetizing your apps, improving the user experience at every touchpoint with the right data.

Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy, however, is changing how apps can track user data in a major way. It’s asking users if they want to grant permission for apps to track off-app data, instead of automatically opting them into data tracking.

This is a major change, and pre-permission prompts are our best (and in some ways, only) option for increasing the number of users who will allow for data tracking post-iOS 14.5 update.

In this post, we’re going to discuss how to optimize your iOS 14.5 strategy with pre-permission prompts for best success.

the do's and don'ts of pre-permission prompts

The iOS ATT Update: What’s Changing for Apps

The ATT is perhaps the most significant iOS 14.5 feature, and the biggest change is simple.

Previously, data tracking was automatically enabled and users could delve into the app to disable it, but they had to do it proactively.

Now, when users log in post-update, they’ll be asked if they want to allow data tracking. They’ll see a message from Apple, with the first option saying not to allow tracking. It’s essentially a new version of a user consent form. You can learn more about how this works here.

HM ATT screen
Source: H&M app

This change is powerful; so far, data has shown that only 4% of U.S. iPhone users have opted back in to ad tracking on Facebook.

What Are Pre-Permission Prompts & Why Do They Matter for iOS 14.5?

Unlike with the GDPR, you cannot customize the message users see when they’re being asked whether they want to enable or disable data tracking. Apple’s message is what’s displayed, and their language doesn’t exactly encourage users to opt in.

While you can’t change the permission prompt, you can create a pre-permission prompt. This is a full-screen prompt that will appear before Apple’s message, and it gives you your chance to say your piece about why data tracking can be valuable to the user experience.

You can see Facebook’s pre-permission prompt here:

Facebook pre-permission screen
Source: Facebook app

How to Use Pre-Permission Prompts for the ATT

In order to increase the likelihood that users do allow your app to track data, it’s essential to follow these four steps.

Step 1: Follow Apple’s Guidelines

Apple does allow for pre-permission prompts, but they have strict guidelines about what you can and cannot do with them.

You are allowed (and encouraged) to explain what users get out of enabling data tracking. These need to be straightforward and specific, so keep it short and avoid passive voice.

You could say, for example, that data tracking allows your app to:

  • Create special offers for each individual user
  • Give you notifications when your friends are nearby
  • Share relevant news happening in your location
  • Assess your activity levels for custom exercise plan recommendations

Here’s an example from their site:

Apple official iOS 14.5 guidelines
Source: https://developer.apple.com

While creating your pre-permission prompts, make sure that you don’t violate the four following rules:

  • You cannot incentivize users to allow tracking in any way
  • You cannot create pre-permission prompts that imitate Apple’s permission prompt
  • Don’t create “alert images” that show users a screenshot of the permission prompt and indicate which choice they should make with visual cues or copy indicating that users automatically should enable tracking
ATT pre-prompt screen what not to do
Source: https://developer.apple.com

Step 2: Make Your Prompts Persuasive by Highlighting Value

There are a number of tips and tricks that copywriters use to create persuasive, enticing messages that will resonate with their target audience.

When creating pre-permission prompts, you’ll want to use the following strategies:

Explain Exactly What You Want Users to Do

In larger text across the top of the prompt, you can say “Enabling data and location tracking allows us to do the following.” This explains what you want users to do, and it positions them to be more likely to take that direct action.

The prompt below is a great example, stating exactly what does and doesn’t happen when you enable or disable data tracking.

ASDA pre-permission screen
Source: ASDA app


Detail the Value of Individual Features

Let’s say that you have a weight loss app, and if users allow for data tracking to check in with your fitness app, they can provide more insight into calories needed to lose weight daily based on your diet and activity. This is a great example of how a single feature can make a big impact on the user experience.

Make sure you’re quickly explaining how different features will benefit from tracking, and how this will impact the user in turn. In the example below, you can see that data tracking allows the app to keep content relevant to each user and to share up-to-date deals, price drops, and special rates.

Trivago ATT pre-permission screen
Source: Trivago app

Use Clear and Direct Language

Be straight and to the point. Short, simple sentences are going to be key; you want to persuade users without drowning them in information. If they’re overwhelmed, they’ll likely skip the prompt and go straight to a “no.”

Bullet points with graphics are a great way to make your point in a concise but still persuasive way. The pre-prompt below from Instagram is an excellent example.

Instagramm ATT pre-prompt
Source: Instagram app


Make Sure to Consider Immediate and Short-term Benefits

There are some pre-permission prompts that tell users they should allow data tracking in order to “keep the app free long-term” or to “keep the app glitch-free.” This can backfire; it doesn’t impact users right away and it’s only a maybe that anything would change. That’s not persuasive enough.

Whenever possible, address benefits that will impact them right now. Let them know what they’ll be missing if they pass up on data tracking and all of the benefits that are included.

If they disable data tracking on their budgeting app today, for example, they won’t get personalized alerts any longer if they’re overspending. This has a direct and immediate impact on the customer and their bank account; that’s persuasive.

This is what will get them to hit “Allow” on the next screen.

Rentalcars ATT pre-prompt
Source: Rentalcars app

You want to make sure that you’re explaining that they can still use the app without allowing data-tracking and you’re not trying to trick or threaten them into it. (Some prompts, unfortunately, come off a little threatening). Instead, explain what is involved and how you’ll use that data. See an example below from Skyscanner: 

Skyscanner pre-prompt
Source: Skyscanner app

Step 3: Use Clean, Bright Designs

When you’re using clean, simple, and bright designs, it does accomplish several things at once:

  • It increases the odds that users will actually pay attention to what you’re saying
  • The message looks trustworthy (as opposed to a small pop-up window that might look like a virus)
  • It can help you prioritize the information you most want them to remember or take note of

The following design tips can help:

  • Bright and contrasting colors can help capture user attention and draw their focus to the information you want them to notice most
  • Adding custom graphics as bullet points while you’re listing benefits can make them more memorable and persuasive
  • Include plenty of white space so that users aren’t overwhelmed by the information or visuals in front of them
MoneyManager app ATT pre-prompt
Source: MoneyManager app

Step 4: Track the Efficacy of Your Prompts

We’re willing to bet you put a great deal of time into tracking your overall app performance, including revenue, engagement, downloads, and more.

Assessing the efficacy of your ATT pre-permission prompt can be just as important. To help app developers determine how many users are enabling or disabling data tracking, we’ve released a new metric here at myTracker: the ATT Status.

This report tells you how many users opted in and out of tracking permissions, or if permission has not been requested. If you have a particularly low opt-in rate, it’s a good sign that you may need to test other prompts to see if they’re able to increase the number of users who do allow tracking.

ATT status in myTracker
Check your opt-in rates with ATT status in myTracker

Final Thoughts

The Apple iOS 14.5 update is turning the app developer’s world upside down. It could impact monetization through in-app marketing directly, along with hindering your app’s ability to function to its full potential for all users.

Putting time and effort into creating strong, persuasive pre-permission prompts will be well worth the effort, and with more and more users downloading the update by the day, this is something that you want to do now. If you haven’t already, put together a pre-permission prompt immediately to avoid missing out on crucial data from any more users.

Want help tracking the efficacy of your pre-permission prompt? Create a free account with myTracker here.