iOS 7.1 to Fix Geolocation Issue That Broke Location-Based Apps

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Life 360Apple 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.

Life360 is a free download on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
85 months ago
Huh? "In iOS 7, when a user force quits the app, all location-aware background services were disabled."

Well, DUH.

When I force quit an app i *EXPECT* all processes used by that app to stop running.

If i want it to keep running, I don't force quit an app.

I'm amazed that people can't figure that one out.

So basically, with 7.1 any app that has location services running in the background can't be stopped without disabling location services for that app or rebooting the iPhone.

Bad idea Apple.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
85 months ago

No. You can disable location services for each app.

But you wouldn't download a location app to start with to do that. Kill an app should mean kill an app.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
85 months ago
Hmm... I mean... if someone force closes an app, I wouldn't necessarily say the old behavior was... wrong.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
85 months ago
People continue to misunderstand when and why to force-quit apps. I know many people who incorrectly think they need to do this routinely to manage their phone's memory use.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
85 months ago
User should have total control over location based apps. If I want to kill an app that should be my choice. Simple solution, don't download apps like theres.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
85 months ago
[LIST=1]
* The change in iOS 7 didn't break the apps, the developers broke it themselves by not educating the users as to what happens when the app is forced to be closed.
* If I'm force-quitting an app, I expect all processes related to the app to be terminated. By reverting this, it now breaks the whole consistency of explaining things to users, how apps should work, and so on.
* Apple, really? Caving in to developers because they're whining about getting bad ratings when it's just a matter of educating users rather than changing something that could hurt the battery life?


Everybody here who disagrees with this should send an email to Apple to undo this revert because it is not right.

Now, I'm definitely going to leave bad reviews for those developers who requested such a change.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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