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How privacy works when accessing apps to the location

How privacy works when accessing apps to the location

Privacy for Apple is more than a feature. Something very similar happens with accessibility. Your interest goes beyond a simple function to cover and we could say that we talk about defining characteristics of your brand image. And for that they put a lot of effort into refining and debugging these years after year.

In the case of privacy, Apple has the clear objective of better protecting our data and making it clear that your product is not us and our data: it is your devices. And they protect us from the increasingly relentless abuse of developers with few scruples that are enriched with our data. And why not say it, They also educate us to give it the true importance it has and that many times we do not give.

Comparison iOS 12 vs iOS 13: these are some of the differences between both versions

In this year, this year Apple has taken a new and important step in one of the key functions that tempt those developers who wish to profit indirectly with our data: the location.

This is how the location works now

If we develop apps for iOS systems, one of the first things we learn is that when we try to access some feature of the system that involves access to private data, Apple forces the app to request granular access.

What does that mean? It is that alert that appears when an app tries to access for the first time the microphone, or a Bluetooth device, or the camera, the photo album or the location, among many other functions of the device. Apple forces developers to indicate a descriptive message in all languages ​​of the app, to inform the user of the purpose we pursue with it when accessing that feature. And this text is reviewed by reviewers Apple to approve the app or not once sent for publication.

If we do not indicate a descriptive text for each feature of the device that affects privacy, the app hangs for security. And if the key has been set but nothing has been indicated or a clear message has not been given, Apple reject the app.

Until now, the permits regarding the location had 2 degrees: use of the location only within the app and use outside the app in the background. Depending on the version of iOS supported we have different lines to include:

  • NSLocationWhenInUseUsageDescription specifies the message when the app uses the location only when it is open.
  • If we want to access this data also outside (in the background) we must use NSLocationAlwaysAndWhenInUseUsageDescription.
  • If our app supports iOS 10, in addition to these two, to use the background location when the app is closed, we must include this NSLocationAlwaysUsageDescription.

Current dialog box when accessing the location

This way, if an app asks for permission to use the location I will do it in a single dialogue asking:

  • Only when using the app
  • Always allow
  • Do not allow

Changes in iOS 13

In iOS 13, the option to always allow to disappear of that dialogue when updating our device. Instead we are asked:

  • Allow when in use
  • Allow only once
  • Do not allow

As we can see, the option is always replaced only once in case it is a punctual location like a Tweet that we want to be geolocated or an image on Instagram. But nothing more.

New location permission dialog in iOS 13

Labeling a location (for example) does not deserve a locate when the app is in use why endangers our privacy and leaves the developer permission to abuse the occasion we have given him by trusting him.

Location permission always on iOS 13