Upcoming iOS 13 VoIP Change That Restricts Background Access to Impact Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp
Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp allow users to make calls over the internet, and to listen for those calls, the apps run in the background of an iPhone or iPad so calls can connect quickly. While running in the background, the apps are also able to collect data, something that Apple is putting a stop to in iOS 13.
Background access for apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp will be restricted solely to internet calls going forward, with no background data collection available.
Sources that spoke to The Information said that this change will force Facebook to redesign its messaging apps, and that it could have a "particularly heavy impact" on WhatsApp. WhatsApp apparently uses the internet calling feature for multiple other functions, including its end-to-end encryption.
Other messaging app developers that have used the internet calling feature to keep apps running in the background on iOS devices will also need to rebuild their apps. This will include apps like Snapchat, WeChat, and more.
Facebook told The Information that Facebook was not collecting data through its calling feature.
"The changes to the upcoming iOS releases are not insignificant, but we are in conversations with Apple on how best to address," the spokesperson said. "To be clear--we are using the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a world-class, private messaging experience, not for the purpose of collecting data."
Facebook says that it is having conversations with Apple on how to address the coming changes in iOS 13. Apple is making the change in iOS 13, but developers will have until April 2020 to comply with the new rules.
Apple says that the change will better protect user privacy and will result in performance improvements for iOS devices as background app usage for this purpose can drain system resources and shorten battery life.