A group of app developers have written a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook in which the group argues that a new privacy-focused change to Apple’s iOS 13 operating system is likely to negatively impact their businesses.
In a report by The Information, the developers were said to have accused Apple of anti-competitive behavior when it comes to how apps can access user location data.
With iOS 13, Apple aims to curtail apps’ abuse of its location-tracking features as part of its larger privacy focus as a company.
Today, many apps ask users upon first launch to give their app the “Always Allow” location-tracking permission. Users can confirm this with a tap, unwittingly giving apps far more access to their location data than is actually necessary, in many cases.
In iOS 13, however, Apple has tweaked the way apps can request location data… The “Always” option is still available, but users will have to head to iOS Settings to manually enable it. (A periodic pop-up will also present the “Always” option, but not right away)… In addition, the developers’ letter pointed out that Apple’s own built-in apps (like Find My) aren’t treated like this, which raises anti-competitive concerns.
MacDailyNews Take: So, the devs are arguing that Apple’s change may confuse average users, who may assume the app isn’t functioning properly without “Always On” location data, but app makers could simply point users to the iOS Settings or, as Perez suggests, limit app functionality until the user grants the “Always Allow” permission.
Apple made a statement to The Information in which the company explained that any changes it makes to the operating system are “in service to the user” and to the user’s privacy. Appel also stated that any apps it distributes must also abide by the same procedures.