Tech giant Apple will roll out a new privacy control in the spring to prevent iPhone apps from secretly shadowing users.
The delay in the introduction aims to placate Facebook and other digital services that depend on data surveillance to help sell ads.
Although Apple did not provide a specific date, the general timetable means a long-awaited feature known as App Tracking Transparency will be part of an iPhone software update likely to arrive in late March or some point in April.
After delaying the planned September introduction of the safeguard amid a Facebook-led outcry, Apple had previously said it would come out early this year.
Apple suspended the rollout to give Facebook and other app makers more time to adjust to a feature that will require iPhone users to give their explicit consent to being tracked.
Analysts expect a significant number of users to block the software. Currently, iPhone users are frequently tracked by apps they install unless they take the extra step of going into iPhone settings to prevent it.
Google, which also relies on personal data to power the internet’s biggest ad network, has not joined Facebook’s protest over the controls on tracking.
But the search engine warned that Apple’s new controls will have a significant impact on ad revenue generated from iPhones in its digital network. It claimed a “handful” of its iPhone apps will be affected, but did not identify which ones.
“We remain committed to preserving a vibrant and open app ecosystem where people can access a broad range of ad-supported content with confidence that their privacy and choices are respected,” wrote Christophe Combette, group product manager for Google Ads.
Apple also released an 11-page report to illustrate how much apps can learn about their users in daily life.