iPhone XS Max with App StoreSource: Joe Keller / iMore

What you need to know

  • Apple has updated its developer guidelines.
  • Part of those changes means apps can now send ads as push notifications.
  • Users must opt into them, though.

Sending ads via push notifications is something that Apple's developer guidelines made clear wasn't allowed. But that didn't stop many developers from doing it anyway. Now they can do it without fear of repercussions – so long as they get the permission of users first – after Apple updated those developer guidelines yesterday.

The specific text comes in section 4.5.4, with Apple noting that users must opt-in via "consent language displayed" in an app's interface.

4.5.4 Push Notifications must not be required for the app to function, and should not be used to send sensitive personal or confidential information. Push Notifications should not be used for promotions or direct marketing purposes unless customers have explicitly opted in to receive them via consent language displayed in your app's UI, and you provide a method in your app for a user to opt out from receiving such messages. Abuse of these services may result in revocation of your privileges.

This comes after Apple has skirted its own rules for years, with many developers pointing to notifications promoting services like Apple TV+ and Apple Music. It will be very interesting indeed to see whether Apple also ensures users opt into these notifications. Given its history of ignoring its own developer guidelines, I'd suspect not.

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