App Store on iPhoneSource: iMore

What you need to know

  • iOS 13 tells users when apps are tracking their location.
  • Developers are concerned that it shows their apps in a bad light.
  • Apple has reiterated its stance that the alerts are an important privacy enhancement.

When Apple released iOS 13 towards the end of September 2019 it brought with it a new warning that told users when an app repeatedly accessed their location data in the background. A new Wall Street Journal report notes that developers are worried that the alerts will make users doubt their apps. But Apple isn't concerned.

According to the report some developers have expressed concerns that the new alerts pop up every few days, sometimes even after a user has tapped the "Always Allow" option. Developers worry that the repeated alerts will reflect poorly on their apps, potentially causing users to look elsewhere.

However, Apple has responded with a statement and has again pointed to the fact that it doesn't want to know where someone is in order to make money. And it seems to want to make sure users know that, too.

Apple has not built a business model around knowing a customer's location or the location of their device.

Apple is encouraging developers not to collect location data when it isn't expressly required for the app to function. This new alert does two things; it ensures users are aware which apps are tracking their location, and it keeps developers honest by preventing them from tracking people when they don't need to for reasons other than selling the data to third parties.

But as is so often the case with such things it's still possible that some innocent parties will fall foul of the move if users simply uninstall apps that cause alerts to appear repeatedly.