How to Fix Your iPhone App Tracking Transparency’ If It’s Grayed Out in iOS 14.5

iPhone's 'App Tracking Transparency
iPhone’s ‘App Tracking Transparency

With the release of iOS 14.5, Apple finally released its much-anticipated App Tracking Transparency feature, which is extremely useful if you want fine-grained control over which apps will monitor other aspects of your digital activity. That is, assuming that the function isn’t disabled for you.

Many iOS users seem to be unable to use Apple’s App Tracking Transparency function at all. The setting is present when they go to Settings > Privacy > Tracking, so they can’t change it. Here’s how it looks grayed:

Grayed Tracking Transparency function
Grayed Tracking Transparency function

Apple recently published a support page outlining three situations in which you might be unable to change the crucial toggle.

The list, however, does not include everyone’s experiences. And I’ve seen people try a variety of troubleshooting methods in the hopes of ungraying the App Tracking Transparency toggle, like restoring their iPhone from a backup or factory resetting it.

However, you don’t have to go to such lengths. It’s inconvenient if you can’t activate “Allow Apps to Request to Track,” but it could be a lot worse. When you leave it untoggled, you’re effectively refusing apps the right to ask for extra permissions to track you.

So, while it’s an inconvenience that might be a bug, it’s just preventing you from loosening your privacy, not improving it. If you absolutely must have an ungrayed environment, try the following:

  • Begin with strategic reboots: Restart your iPhone, sign in and out of the App Store, then sign in and out of iCloud (particularly through Settings > Apple ID > Media & Purchases, which some claim to have worked). You may only be able to get the toggle to function briefly, so come back in a few hours to see if you can still change it. Also, after each sign-out (one at a time), try rebooting your iPhone and then signing back in when it powers back up.
  • Make the following changes to “Personalized Recommendations”: Another troubleshooting strategy I’ve seen listed is to go to Settings > Privacy > Apple Advertising. I’m not sure why this will be related to app requests, but it’s a simple on/off that’s worth a try.
  • Install iOS 14.6 beta 1: This one is a little more dramatic, but I’ve also heard that people have been able to “unlock” the functionality by upgrading to the next iOS update’s developer beta. This isn’t something I’d suggest if you desperately need a stable iPhone with all of your apps and features working perfectly—this is the first developer beta for iOS 14.6—but it is a choice.

It’s important to note that getting the option greyed out is not the same as having the option activated but no apps to handle. The latter is normal, expected behavior when an app requires these permissions or you install a new one that does, the app will prompt you, and you will have the option to change your mind when it appears on that screen. Don’t worry if there’s nothing there right now.

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