What you need to know
- DuckDuckGo has added a new app tracking protection capability on Android.
- However, the feature doesn't block trackers in a few apps that rely on tracking to function properly.
- The new feature is available in beta for now, and you can join the waitlist.
Many of today's best Android phones lack a feature similar to Apple's App Tracking Transparency, which allows you to prevent third-party apps from tracking you online. DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focused browser, has added a new feature to address this flaw.
The company has announced the availability of its new App Tracking Protection feature, which allows you to block trackers embedded in various Android apps. DuckDuckGo explained in a blog post that "trackers it identifies in other apps from third-party companies" will be prohibited from tracking your online activities.
DuckDuckGo's tracking protection is currently in beta and works in the background once activated. To do so, go to the Settings menu and then select the "App Tracking Protection" option under the privacy section. To turn on the feature, you must enter an invite code if you have one. Otherwise, you can join the private waitlist.
It detects when an app tries to send your data to a third-party tracker. Those requests will then be blocked by the feature. You'll also be able to see the types of trackers that have been blocked in real time, as well as the number of trackers spotted in the last seven days.
There are some limitations to the feature, however. For example, it doesn't block trackers in certain apps that rely on tracking to work properly. This means mobile games and browsers are excluded, as per Wired.
Furthermore, DuckDuckGo can only protect your device from trackers listed in its database. This means your online activities can still be tracked by websites not yet included in that list. That said, the service said it is "continually working to identify and protect against new trackers."
It's worth noting that Android 12 brings with it a bunch of improvements to its privacy controls for users, letting them opt out of personalized ads. However, these measures might not come close to what Apple is already offering. DuckDuckGo hopes to fill that gap.