Apple has reversed a change it made to how users quit location-aware apps in iOS 7. In the new OS, Apple changed how location-aware applications work when they are force-quit by users. In iOS 7.0, users who force quit an app -- by double-tapping the home button and swiping up -- also disable all location-aware functions which previously would continue to run in the background.
One app in particular, Life360, uses background location abilities to allow family and friends to locate each other. In iOS 7, when a user force quits the app, all location-aware background services were disabled. This caused the company to have a sudden influx of negative reviews and disappointed customers. Some apps even saw 30-50 percent drops in users following the change, according to Life360 CEO Chris Hulls who spoke to MacRumors yesterday.
Now, in iOS 7.1 beta 5, released a week ago, the change has been reversed and Hulls attributes that to a letter that Life360 and a number of other developers sent to Apple CEO Tim Cook on February 1. In the beta, background location services remain running when an app is force quit, same as in iOS 6.
VentureBeat has the first several paragraphs of the letter:
Dear Apple iOS Development Team,
We are a group of Apple developers who rely on iOS geolocation services for core parts of our businesses. iOS 7 was hugely exciting to us, as new features such as Location Beacons, Background Networking, and Multi-Peer Connectivity give us the ability to do things we never thought were possible.
In previous versions of iOS, if a user killed an application in the app switcher, developers were still able to get geolocation in the background. With iOS 7, once a user kills an application, all processes are terminated until the user manually restarts the app. We appreciate the intent behind this change, which we realize was done to give users more control over what is running on their phones, but it has caused major unintended consequences. … Many developers who rely on background geolocation have seen their app ratings fall by over 3 stars.