Cloud-based finding platform Tile is accusing Apple of tweaking its latest operating systems by changing the default settings, according to a report in The Financial Times (FT) on Sunday (May 31). Tile said that it believes Apple turned off the “always allow” default setting — which disables third-party tracking products — while setting its own FindMy app in iOS 13.5. to a default of “on.”
Tile’s Bluetooth technology helps people track their keys, phones or other items. Its accusation could make things harder for Apple, where it is already being scrutinized by European regulators.
Tile said in a letter to European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager that Apple was making it harder for people to operate the Tile app in favor of Apple’s own FindMy app.
“We strenuously deny the allegations of uncompetitive behavior that Tile is waging against us,” Apple said in a statement given to FT.
“Consistent with the critical path we’ve been on for over a decade, last year we introduced further privacy protections that safeguard user location data. Tile doesn’t like those decisions, so instead of arguing the issue on its merits, they’ve instead decided to launch meritless attacks.”
Tile maintains that Apple’s recent changes to its operating system made it harder for customers that used Tile. The company specifically stated that Apple — in preparation for the release of a competing product called AirTags — had been intentionally making it difficult for people to use Tile’s products.
“In the past twelve months, Apple has taken several steps to completely disadvantage Tile, including by making it more difficult for consumers to use our products and services,” said Tile’s general counsel Kirsten Daru in the letter seen by the Financial Times.
“This is particularly concerning because Apple’s actions come at the same time that Apple both launched a new FindMy app that competes even more directly with Tile and also began preparing for the launch of a competitive hardware product,” the letter added.
In September, Tile announced it was teaming up with Google for Google Assistant voice integration. Google Assistant users will be able to use voice commands to activate the tile that is attached to a missing item.