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Apple drops dev access to UDID in iOS 5, creates app turmoil

updated 05:55 pm EDT, Fri August 19, 2011

iOS 5 UDID API goes away, goes app-specific

A new discovery in iOS 5's documentation has raised concerns about the level of access developers will have to device information. Apple now considers the programming interface for the UDID, or unique device identifier, a "deprecated" technology in the new release, documentation forward to TechCrunch showed. Coders could still have unique identifiers, but they had to make their own app-specific IDs.

The reasoning for the change wasn't publicized. Privacy, however, is the most likely concern. Some advertisers and apps that want to tailor the experience use UDIDs. The two are convenient but also raise concerns that an advertiser could match up personal information with a UDID or otherwise identify a specific person.

Advertisers would be the most likely to object. They could create a consistent identifier approach that works across all of their apps, but they will have to drop UDID. The move would force them to blank out their ad histories.

Concerns persist as well that Apple might not necessarily behave fairly. Since it will always have access to the UDID, it could abuse access by getting UDID access where a developer wouldn't be banned, such as for an iAd campaign. Game Center could also use the identifiers in a way that third-party game networks might not.

by MacNN Staff



  1. facebook_Vincent

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Aug 2011


    seems to still work.

    Just run some quick test and it seems to continue to work on iOS 4 and iOS 5 ... for now ...

  1. chas_m



    "Deprecated" does not mean

    it's gone, deprecated means it will no longer be supported and will be phased out going forward. Apple's own Java runtime was deprecated, but that doesn't mean Java doesn't work ... in fact, Java works better than ever now that we don't have to use Apple's outdated version.

    In this case, the change may prove inconvenient for some devs (but mostly advertisers), but it's A Good Thing for consumers.

  1. FreeRange

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Keep our personal data private! This is great for consumers. Our personal data is being bought, sold, used and abused at an alarming rate.

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple always...

    looking out to protect their consumers!

  1. Gazoobee

    Joined: Dec 1969


    the last paragraph

    ... of this article is a pretty low blow. There is nothing at all to indicate Apple will do that. The author makes it sound like they have done things like that in the past or that they can't be trusted when it's really unfounded paranoia and mere speculation.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: the last paragraph

    Apple has done this in the past, that's why it isn't a low blow. For example, Apple will use your location information for iAds, but will not pass it on to third parties unless you agree.

    And if you think Apple is out about protecting your personal information, maybe they should have fixed the gaping hole in their system that allowed Facebook (and any other developer) to get your entire Address book and send it back to the mother ship. Because any app can do that, and I doubt you even know who is or isn't.

    But at least they are making sure that Amazon doesn't make it easy to sell me a book without giving Apple a 30% cut. They are keeping that 'security' hole pretty well closed.

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