Apple

App Developers Don’t Like Apple’s New Privacy Rules

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A group of app developers has written to Apple CEO Tim Cook about privacy changes to the company’s iOS 13 operating system that they claim will negatively impact their businesses.

According to The Information, the developers also accused Apple of anti-competitive behavior regarding how apps access user location data.

Apple is aiming to stop an apps’ abuse of location-tracking features via iOS 13, which will now feature a new option during launch that gives users an “Allow Once” option so they can check out the app before giving the developer permission to continually access location data. There will continue to be existing options “Allow While Using App” and “Don’t Allow,” while the “Always” option will have to be manually enabled via iOS Settings.

The app developers argue that this change can confuse less-technical users, and they pointed out that Apple’s own built-in apps (like Find My) are not being subjected to the same rules, which raises anti-competitive concerns.

Their email also noted that iOS 13 would not allow developers to use PushKit beyond internet voice calls.

“We understand that there were certain developers, specifically messaging apps, that were using this as a backdoor to collect user data,” the email said. “While we agree loopholes like this should be closed, the current Apple plan to remove [access to the internet voice feature] will have unintended consequences: it will effectively shut down apps that have a valid need for real-time location.”

The email was signed by Tile CEO CJ Prober; Arity (Allstate) President Gary Hallgren; CEO of Life360, Chris Hullsan; CEO of dating app Happn, Didier Rappaport; CEO of Zenly (Snap), Antoine Martin; CEO of Zendrive, Jonathan Matus; and Chief Strategy Officer of social networking app Twenty, Jared Allgood.

In response to the report, Apple explained that changes to the operating system are “in service to the user” and to their privacy, adding that all apps it distributes from the App Store have to follow the same procedures.

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