New Figures Suggest Apple's Location Privacy Controls in iOS 13 Are Working

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Since the launch of iOS 13 last fall, third-party access to users' background location data has reportedly declined by 68 percent, according to Location Sciences, a firm that analyzes location data for marketers (via Fast Company).

The firm also found that foreground data sharing, which occurs only while an app is open, has fallen by 24 percent.

According to a separate report by Digiday, third-party apps are now seeing opt-in rates under 50 percent for collecting location data when they're not in use.

The shortage of GPS data has been put down to Apple's recently introduction of pop-up options that let users selectively control background location tracking on the fly.

In iOS 13, iPhone and iPad users are periodically reminded about apps that are continuously tracking their location, complete with a map of those locations and options to "Change to Only While Using," "Always Allow," and "Just Once."

"As those particular options were made available to users, we do attribute that to the decrease in sharing," Jason Smith, Location Sciences' chief business officer, told Fast Company.

While the report indicates that Apple's new background location tracking options are having their intended effect, a recent report by The Wall Street Journal suggests that some developers are concerned that frequent location tracking reminders will hurt adoption of their apps.

Apple responded to the report by insisting that the changes were made to further safeguard user privacy.

"Apple has not built a business model around knowing a customer's location or the location of their device," an Apple spokesperson told WSJ, adding that Apple builds its hardware and software with privacy in mind.

Article Link: New Figures Suggest Apple's Location Privacy Controls in iOS 13 Are Working
 

TrenttonY

macrumors 6502a
Nov 14, 2012
945
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I wish Apple would get back in the 'iAds' business or at least control how ads appear on iOS and macOS.

Which includes only allowing ads in certain uniform templates.

Obviously this would open up a whole can of worms, of lawsuits etc.
 
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Chrjy

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2010
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The thing is most consumers don't understand the differences which can in fact hurt developers and the customers experience of an app. For example, Apple provides Region Monitoring as part of their SDK which needs 'Always' location services to function, without it, it just won't work.

I am developing an app that requires Region Monitoring but I have no interest in the users location, in fact the location details never leave the device but to provide the necessary experience, 'Always' location services must be selected.

Don't get me wrong, if other devs have ulterior motives, which we know some do, then this is very welcome but for those devs, such as myself, who need Always location for a feature in the dev-kit that Apple provides, it's not good news.
 

Daniel James

macrumors 6502
Sep 24, 2019
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I don’t know how much difference it makes with having strict privacy on for consumers realistically. However I’m happy that Apple has taken this stand and is why I’ve been using iPhone for many years and have no intention in going anywhere else.
 
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PickUrPoison

macrumors 603
Sep 12, 2017
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Sunnyvale, CA
The thing is most consumers don't understand the differences which can in fact hurt developers and the customers experience of an app. For example, Apple provides Region Monitoring as part of their SDK which needs 'Always' location services to function, without it, it just won't work.

I am developing an app that requires Region Monitoring but I have no interest in the users location, in fact the location details never leave the device but to provide the necessary experience, 'Always' location services must be selected.

Don't get me wrong, if other devs have ulterior motives, which we know some do, then this is very welcome but for those devs, such as myself, who need Always location for a feature in the dev-kit that Apple provides, it's not good news.
Allowing Region Monitoring without periodic notification could be one of the changes Apple plans on making 🤞
 

FlyingDutch

macrumors 6502a
Aug 21, 2019
855
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Eindhoven (NL)
Good job Apple! And all those companies trying hard to sell user data are complaining... 😂
So very good job Apple!
- - Post merged: - -

The thing is most consumers don't understand the differences which can in fact hurt developers and the customers experience of an app. For example, Apple provides Region Monitoring as part of their SDK which needs 'Always' location services to function, without it, it just won't work.

I am developing an app that requires Region Monitoring but I have no interest in the users location, in fact the location details never leave the device but to provide the necessary experience, 'Always' location services must be selected.

Don't get me wrong, if other devs have ulterior motives, which we know some do, then this is very welcome but for those devs, such as myself, who need Always location for a feature in the dev-kit that Apple provides, it's not good news.
The only app where a continuous location tracking could make sense is related to HomeKit services (and even this is debatable...).
Any other app requiring my location data always on are flawed in my opinion, especially because I don’t know if those data are leaving the phone or not.
 
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mrow

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2009
327
443
I appreciate what Apple is doing but their pop up reminders for the “always allow” location services option does not work consistently. It’s only supposed to occasionally ask you if you want to continue to allow always on location. Sometimes I never get reminders for some apps, and then sometimes I will get multiple pop ups within a single week. I have had both the Eve app (for HomeKit stuff) and Citymapper pop up reminders multiple times this week asking me if I want to continue to allow “always allow”.

I’m always going to want to always allow those apps to use my location. They really need to give us an option to never prompt us for certain apps.
 

tennisproha

macrumors 65816
Jun 24, 2011
1,225
676
Texas
The thing is most consumers don't understand the differences which can in fact hurt developers and the customers experience of an app. For example, Apple provides Region Monitoring as part of their SDK which needs 'Always' location services to function, without it, it just won't work.

I am developing an app that requires Region Monitoring but I have no interest in the users location, in fact the location details never leave the device but to provide the necessary experience, 'Always' location services must be selected.

Don't get me wrong, if other devs have ulterior motives, which we know some do, then this is very welcome but for those devs, such as myself, who need Always location for a feature in the dev-kit that Apple provides, it's not good news.
But this is Apple’s fault for setting it up this way. It shows a poor streamline between the user and developer experience.
 
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_Refurbished_

macrumors 68020
Mar 23, 2007
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The thing is most consumers don't understand the differences which can in fact hurt developers and the customers experience of an app. For example, Apple provides Region Monitoring as part of their SDK which needs 'Always' location services to function, without it, it just won't work.

I am developing an app that requires Region Monitoring but I have no interest in the users location, in fact the location details never leave the device but to provide the necessary experience, 'Always' location services must be selected.

Don't get me wrong, if other devs have ulterior motives, which we know some do, then this is very welcome but for those devs, such as myself, who need Always location for a feature in the dev-kit that Apple provides, it's not good news.
Apple should retool the system to be more precise. Such as, “Always on, but location details aren’t shared”.

My example may not be the best worded, but there should be a way for developers, such as yourself, to safely enable location sharing without compromising someone’s privacy.
 

TheColtr

macrumors 6502
Feb 1, 2014
362
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California
Good job Apple! And all those companies trying hard to sell user data are complaining... 😂
So very good job Apple!
- - Post merged: - -


The only app where a continuous location tracking could make sense is related to HomeKit services (and even this is debatable...).
Any other app requiring my location data always on are flawed in my opinion, especially because I don’t know if those data are leaving the phone or not.
I agree with your comment the most. I’m fine with access to location while I’m using the app. Apps like yelp it is understandable. But if you need location tracking always then it better be a absolute must. For the most part if I see a company require me to give location to use the app, and it doesn’t seem necessary I just delete the app. The google home app is a great example. I almost threw out my google home devices when I saw the app required me to turn on location, and didn’t give ANY good explanation why.

The only two things I let have constant location are HomeKit and reminders.
 
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Chrjy

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2010
792
1,125
UK
The only app where a continuous location tracking could make sense is related to HomeKit services (and even this is debatable...).
Any other app requiring my location data always on are flawed in my opinion, especially because I don’t know if those data are leaving the phone or not.
The fact is, my app requires requires 'Always' to be able to show an alert to a user if they are in a specific area, without it, there's no way to inform the user, so 'Yes' there are apps that require it purely from a customer experience point of view, nothing more.

Also, it is Apple that provide the feature as part of the developer tools so they also realise that there is a need for it in some cases. Just because an app might need to use it, it does not make it flawed. If I could do it any other way for my app, I definitely would but unfortunately am unable to. In fact Apple use it for the 'Find My' app.
 

DaveP

macrumors 6502
Mar 18, 2005
422
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As another example, getting the SSID of the currently connected WiFi network requires location permission. I had an app rejected because it requested location permission solely to be able to display the current SSID, however, that was deemed by Apple reviewers to not be a valid use of location permission. So location permissions are required to get information that is not valid location information. Obviously this makes no sense, and I firmly believe the reviewers were in the wrong. It also took about 4 weeks to get an answer that this was why the app was rejected. Though another app that does this has gone through a few review cycles without issue.

I know Apple wants to make it as simple as possible, but it really seems like a few tiers of permission would make for an improved system.