The latest beta versions of Safari—Safari 12.1 installed in iOS 12.2 and macOS Mojave 10.14.4, as well as Safari Technology Preview 75—have removed the useless Do Not Track feature.
According to Safari 12.1’s release notes, discovered by MacRumors, support for the “expired” feature was removed in order to “prevent potential use as a fingerprinting variable”.
The before vs. after comparison at the top shows Do Not Track is no longer an option in iOS 12.2 (left) but remains present in the current iOS 12.1.3, as evidenced by the right screenshot.
Apple is right, Do Not Track is an outdated feature.
It was implemented in Safari on OS X Lion back in 2011 and other browsers as a setting that informs advertising companies that the user prefers doesn’t want to be tracked.
Despite years-long industry efforts to establish Do Not Track as a privacy feature, it never took off because it was up to advertisers to either honor or ignore Do Not Track requests.
Naturally, analytics companies and advertisers have largely ignored these requests.
Safari sports Apple’s own protections that limit tracking. In iOS 12, for instance, Safari prevents Share buttons and comment widgets on webpages from tracking you without permission.
And with features like Inteligent Tracking Preventio, Safari is able to prevent cross-site tracking that happens when advertisers collect your device’s unique characteristics so they could identify your device or retarget ads to you across the web.
Have you ever used Do Not Track in Safari?