Apple’s (NYSE: AAPL) newest mobile operating system, iOS 6, has a little-known feature that allows advertisers to track potential customers without infringing on privacy.
The Identification For Advertisers (IFA) is a randomly-generated number assigned to every Apple device. The IFA acts as an alias for the iPhone, iPad, or iPod and allows advertisers access to the device’s search history and installed app history without divulging the user’s personal information.
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Wary of the uproar caused by tracking in their previous operating systems, Apple has allowed for the IFA to be turned off. However, the user will have to jump through a number of obstacles that many won’t want to or be able to do.
Apple’s ability to walk the tightrope of ensuring customer privacy while also providing advertisers with necessary and pertinent information will undoubtedly help sales of its products, especially since the iOS 6 system — along with the IFA feature — is only available on Apple devices.
Mobile app companies in particular should be excited about the new feature, as the IFA will allow them to better reach their target audience. The technology has positive implications for Glu Mobile (NYSE: GLUU), Electronic Arts (NYSE: ERTS), and Zynga (NYSE: ZNGA).
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