Apple now allows apps to send ads as push notifications, but only if users explicitly opt in

Apps available on Apple’s App Store can now send ads, promotions, and direct marketing as push notifications if users have explicitly opted in to receive them.

App push notification ads. Image: iOS push notifications
iOS push notifications
Steven Musil for CNET:

The updated guidelines, announced Wednesday, mean that users who choose to opt in will see ads show up on their Apple devices alongside text messages and breaking news alerts.

Apple also announced Wednesday that apps categorized as “dating” or “fortune telling” would be rejected “unless they provide a unique, high-quality experience.”

MacDailyNews Take: As long as push notification ads are opt-in and users can easily and quickly opt-out, this is not an issue. Some users might want the ads. Imagine an app for collectors of vintage sneakers that would push info that a rare pair of shoes just went up for sale. That sort of thing.

Here’s Apple exact language from their updated “App Store Review Guidelines” document:

4.5.3 Do not use Apple Services to spam, phish, or send unsolicited messages to customers, including Game Center, Push Notifications, etc. Do not attempt to reverse lookup, trace, relate, associate, mine, harvest, or otherwise exploit Player IDs, aliases, or other information obtained through Game Center, or you will be removed from the Developer Program.

4.5.4 Push Notifications must not be required for the app to function, and should not be used to send sensitive personal or confidential information. Push Notifications should not be used for promotions or direct marketing purposes unless customers have explicitly opted in to receive them via consent language displayed in your app’s UI, and you provide a method in your app for a user to opt out from receiving such messages. Abuse of these services may result in revocation of your privileges.


  1. I’ve pretty recently been getting “suggestions” randomly on my Apple Watch with Amazon. I never gave it permission to do so and never have push enabled. Guess I’ll start digging

  2. Funny thing about Apple’s app notification restrictions: they’ve always had rules restricting how an app can do push notifications, to prevent spamming with ads. But they have had no policy about local notifications. So an app can perfectly legitimately schedule local notifications that show up some time after running the app, and then spam you with ads.

    That said, I don’t know of any apps that have actually exploited this.

  3. Opt-In is a Libertarian and democratic, anti-corporatist, anti-big money value. Remember when big gub’mnt precluded Calif. from implementing its already passed opt-in law to thwart robocalls? Yeah, now opt-out is instititionalized, normalized. Are lives better? No. Now look what we have.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.