Google to launch Android update with an anti-tracking option

Google will launch an update to let Android users opt out of tracking features to limit targeted ads later this year, according to the company’s support website. 

The planned update comes after Apple launched a similar anti-tracking feature in March that was cheered by privacy advocates but faced fierce pushback from social media giant Facebook. 

For Android users, the update will come as part of a Google Play services update in “late 2021,” according to Google. 


If a user opts out of personalized ads, the user’s unique advertising identifier will not be available. Instead, it will appear as a string of zeros in place of the identifier.

The update was first reported by Bloomberg News. 

Google said the phased rollout will affect apps running on Android 12 divides starting in late 2021, and will expand to affect apps running on devices that support Google Play in early 2022. 

Apple’s app-tracking transparency feature launched as part of its iOS 14.5 update. The update required apps to ask users permission before tracking them across the web. 

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The launch of Apple’s update was delayed amid backlash, largely from Facebook. 

The social media giant, which thrives off the sale of targeted ads, has criticized Apple’s update as being harmful for small businesses. 

A spokesperson for Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment in response to Google’s plans.