Upcoming iOS 13 VoIP Change That Restricts Background Access to Impact Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp

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An upcoming change in iOS 13 that limits data collection practices using VoIP APIs will impact apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, forcing them to be redesigned, reports The Information.

Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp allow users to make calls over the internet, and to listen for those calls, the apps run in the background of an iPhone or iPad so calls can connect quickly. While running in the background, the apps are also able to collect data, something that Apple is putting a stop to in iOS 13.


Background access for apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp will be restricted solely to internet calls going forward, with no background data collection available.

Sources that spoke to The Information said that this change will force Facebook to redesign its messaging apps, and that it could have a "particularly heavy impact" on WhatsApp. WhatsApp apparently uses the internet calling feature for multiple other functions, including its end-to-end encryption.

Other messaging app developers that have used the internet calling feature to keep apps running in the background on iOS devices will also need to rebuild their apps. This will include apps like Snapchat, WeChat, and more.

Facebook told The Information that Facebook was not collecting data through its calling feature.
"The changes to the upcoming iOS releases are not insignificant, but we are in conversations with Apple on how best to address," the spokesperson said. "To be clear--we are using the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a world-class, private messaging experience, not for the purpose of collecting data."
Facebook says that it is having conversations with Apple on how to address the coming changes in iOS 13. Apple is making the change in iOS 13, but developers will have until April 2020 to comply with the new rules.

Apple says that the change will better protect user privacy and will result in performance improvements for iOS devices as background app usage for this purpose can drain system resources and shorten battery life.

Article Link: Upcoming iOS 13 VoIP Change That Restricts Background Access to Impact Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp
 
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CE3

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To be clear--we are using the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a world-class, private messaging experience, not for the purpose of collecting data.
Well I’m certainly not going to take their word for it.

As far as I’m concerned, Facebook’s main function is to collect and sell data.
 

ZZ Bottom

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It’s about flipping time! Remember when Apple first “baked in” the Facebook login into the iOS?
Sure it was a mistake, but at least their in a concerted direction toward user privacy now.

Yes this may create compromised experiences for some existing users. Yes Apple may lose users that switch to Android. I’m certain these are all calculated risks for the sake of making the “Apple Brand” all about privacy... for now at least.
 

Appleman3546

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May 13, 2019
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If there was a way for Facebook and WhatsApp to download from a browser directly to the iPhone (or an alternative App Store), this change would not affect them. I’m sure Apple’s call app and iMessage app is unaffected though, so why should Apple allow competition to do something differently (or let the users decide what they prefer).
 
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wolfshades

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I am quite okay with losing WhatsApp and Facebook functionality. Just knowing that Apple is constantly and consistently working to keep our data private makes it worthwhile.

In fact, I’d be okay if MacOS updates forced me to delete FB entirely. I mean, it’d suck for like 2 minutes or so but I’m 99% certain life would go on.
 
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olduser007

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Jun 3, 2017
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"To be clear--we are using the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a world-class, private messaging experience, not for the purpose of collecting data."

Just to be really clear. Facebook is collecting data with the Pushkit VoIP APi, but it's not all they use it for. ;)
 

Cosmosent

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RE: "we are using the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a world-class, private messaging experience,"

So, I'm assuming other apps that want to add their own Private Messaging would ALSO use the PushKit VoIP API.

Thanks for the Head's Up on the topic !

And, it sounds like apps don't need to adopt iOS 13 until next April.
 

audiophilosophy

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I wonder if it will affect Google Voice.
When I go to settings and select the (google) voice app, I don’t see a toggle for microphone access or denial. That tells me that the app does not use the mic in a similar way to how Facebook messenger does. I think google voice basically does something different— essentially using the app to direct a call via your regular stock Apple phone app. So no mic access is necessary. If I’m wrong, feel free to correct me.