Apple asks developers to step up UDID depreciation as security scares spook App Store

Apple asks developers to step up UDID depreciation as security scares spook App Store
Apple's move to phase out the use of unique device identifiers – better known as UDIDs – with the launch of iOS 5 initially appeared a typical attack on analytics platforms.

With the App Store currently embroiled in a cluster of scandals, however – some of which point to security holes in the marketplace's set up – it's being reported Apple is ramping up its efforts to depreciate UDIDs as a way of maintaining the OS's integrity.

Unique problem

Inside Mobile Apps reports Apple is currently in the process of contacting developers to ask them to drop use of UDIDs as soon as possible.

The 40-digit sequence of letters and numbers is used by analytics firms and ad networks to track the activity of iOS users from one app to the next.

It's also insightful data so developers can tweak their games to encourage retention. 

Apple's concern, however, appears to revolve around the fact user data accumulated through UDIDs can't be deleted or reset. Given UDIDs are potentially easy to match to an iTunes account, it's information that could prove sensitive if it was ever to leak out.

Imperfect solutions

The proposed workaround involves using app specific identifiers, though this fragments the data and makes it much harder companies to build up a complete picture of user activity across apps. 

Back in December, monetisation outfit W3i claimed a device's MAC address could be used as a more stable replacement for UDIDs, stating the capture of a handset's wifi MAC address does not invalidate Apple's terms and conditions.

Other companies have similar plans to help overcome what now looks to be a crucial issue in the coming months. 

[source: Inside Mobile Apps]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.


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