App tracking


The effectiveness and implications of app tracking are widely discussed across various episodes and clips. Here are key insights and opinions from experts:

  1. Awareness and Accuracy Issues:

    • Dr. Judson Brewer points out that tracking apps can increase awareness about habits like eating and can act as "training wheels" to foster greater mindfulness. However, he also warns against their inaccuracy, especially when they are used to predict things like caloric intake, which can be notoriously imprecise 1.
  2. Cross-App Identifier Comparison:

    • Robert Cantwell discusses how apps can track user behavior across different platforms by comparing identifiers. This enables companies like Facebook to develop a profile based on user interactions with various apps, enhancing targeted advertising efforts 2.
  3. Privacy and User Control:

    • Apple's initiatives, as described by Jason Calacanis, include features allowing more control over data sharing, such as the "App Tracking Transparency" in iOS 14.5, which lets users decide which apps can track their activities across other apps and websites 3.

      The Power of Tracking Apps

      Judson and Rich discuss the pros and cons of using tracking apps for habit change, emphasizing the importance of awareness and mindful usage. They highlight how these apps can be helpful as training wheels for increased awareness, but caution against relying solely on them for accurate data and feedback.

      Rich Roll

      Why WILLPOWER Doesn't Work: The NEUROSCIENCE of Habit Change | Dr. Jud Brewer
  4. Impact on Targeted Advertising:

    • Jesse Pujji and Robert Cantwell debunk myths about apps "listening" through microphones and explain that the perceived personalization often comes from extensive data collection through app SDKs (Software Development Kits) and user behavior analytics 2.
  5. Visualization Tools for Transparency:

    • Moses Namara talks about using visualizations to enhance user understanding of how their data is being used by apps. This can foster greater awareness and potentially motivate users to adjust their privacy settings 4.
  6. Challenges in Live Event Tracking:

    • Tyler Andrews elaborates on solving challenges with live tracking at events like marathons by using manual data input for greater accuracy, contrasting with the often unreliable automated systems 5.

These insights highlight the dual role of app tracking in enhancing user engagement and the consequent privacy concerns. Experts emphasize the importance of using such tools mindfully and advocate for greater transparency and control to protect user privacy.