Once Apple iOS 8 operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad releases, that can be a big blow to WiFi tracking in stores. The new mobile operating system has made ​​an adjustment that makes it impossible to follow based on their own transmitted signal. Wi-Fi devices This is a relatively new marketing technique seems to die. In infancy Apple says it wants to ensure, with the change of the privacy of the user, but is that really so? 

Random MAC address

Wifi-tracking is a relatively new technique, where the wifi signal from mobile devices is used to track. Behavior of people in a room The mobile devices must therefore not have to be. Connected to a network The technique is used in America on a fairly large scale, but also in the Netherlands it is used.

Important for the functioning of wifi tracking is the unique code that each wifi receiver emits searching for a station. This so-called MAC address is used by Wi-trackers for identification. It makes it possible for marketers to determine how often a customer enters a location, what time that is the case and how long he / she stays inside. (That or “MAC” also does not include the name of Apple’s own computers, but is short for “media access control”.)

Phones or tablets equipped with iOS eight MAC address that will replace any address as long as the device is searching for a network. It allows the identification of customers unreliable and therefore unusable. With an iPhone market share of around 12 percent is a big setback for wifi trackers Netherlands.


It is not the first time that Apple is hard for the privacy of iDevice users. In iOS 5 were also made ​​changes to foreclose. Identification codes At that time, this result appbouwers no longer had access to the MAC address and other unique ID, the UDID. As a result, they could no longer serve ads based on these numbers and generate statistics.

Meanwhile, there is a replacement for the UDID in the form of the IFA, the identifier for advertisers. “The IFA is also a unique code, but with opt-out. Apple allows users therefore still follow, but now the whole process is under control.


Apple seems to have the privacy of users. Therefore very committed And the changes that are made are indeed in favor of the consumer. However, the company seems to disguising the MAC address to have a hidden agenda.

The knife cuts both ways in this case. The biggest competitor to Apple’s Wi-Fi tracking iBeacon technology. The technique does not work with wifi but with Bluetooth, and he is not working on the basis of the MAC address.

Your iDevice is constantly looking for the “beacons” that emit a unique code. This is done using Bluetooth Low Energy and you notice nothing. Of course, the Bluetooth feature must be enabled. Once you discover a device iBeacon, he receives the unique code. Installed apps have access to the code, and it may take action based.

The privacy issue on which Apple disguises the MAC address, so be accepted in their own iBeacon technique without any problems.

Bad loser?

The only problem is that the wifi function, a user often has turned the Bluetooth function. This ensures that wifi tracking a more successful start has known the iBeacon technology.

You would therefore consider whether Apple feels really committed to the privacy of the user or simply shows a bad loser.

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