New Figures Suggest Apple's Location Privacy Controls in iOS 13 Are Working

by

location iconSince the launch of iOS 13 last fall, third-party access to users' background location data has reportedly declined by 68 percent, according to Location Sciences, a firm that analyzes location data for marketers (via Fast Company).

The firm also found that foreground data sharing, which occurs only while an app is open, has fallen by 24 percent.

According to a separate report by Digiday, third-party apps are now seeing opt-in rates under 50 percent for collecting location data when they're not in use.

The shortage of GPS data has been put down to Apple's recently introduction of pop-up options that let users selectively control background location tracking on the fly.

In ‌iOS 13‌, iPhone and iPad users are periodically reminded about apps that are continuously tracking their location, complete with a map of those locations and options to "Change to Only While Using," "Always Allow," and "Just Once."

"As those particular options were made available to users, we do attribute that to the decrease in sharing," Jason Smith, Location Sciences' chief business officer, told Fast Company.

While the report indicates that Apple's new background location tracking options are having their intended effect, a recent report by The Wall Street Journal suggests that some developers are concerned that frequent location tracking reminders will hurt adoption of their apps.

Apple responded to the report by insisting that the changes were made to further safeguard user privacy.

"Apple has not built a business model around knowing a customer's location or the location of their device," an Apple spokesperson told WSJ, adding that Apple builds its hardware and software with privacy in mind.

Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
24 weeks ago
The thing is most consumers don't understand the differences which can in fact hurt developers and the customers experience of an app. For example, Apple provides Region Monitoring as part of their SDK which needs 'Always' location services to function, without it, it just won't work.

I am developing an app that requires Region Monitoring but I have no interest in the users location, in fact the location details never leave the device but to provide the necessary experience, 'Always' location services must be selected.

Don't get me wrong, if other devs have ulterior motives, which we know some do, then this is very welcome but for those devs, such as myself, who need Always location for a feature in the dev-kit that Apple provides, it's not good news.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 weeks ago


The thing is most consumers don't understand the differences which can in fact hurt developers and the customers experience of an app. For example, Apple provides Region Monitoring as part of their SDK which needs 'Always' location services to function, without it, it just won't work.

I am developing an app that requires Region Monitoring but I have no interest in the users location, in fact the location details never leave the device but to provide the necessary experience, 'Always' location services must be selected.

Don't get me wrong, if other devs have ulterior motives, which we know some do, then this is very welcome but for those devs, such as myself, who need Always location for a feature in the dev-kit that Apple provides, it's not good news.

Allowing Region Monitoring without periodic notification could be one of the changes Apple plans on making ?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 weeks ago
I don’t know how much difference it makes with having strict privacy on for consumers realistically. However I’m happy that Apple has taken this stand and is why I’ve been using iPhone for many years and have no intention in going anywhere else.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 weeks ago


The thing is most consumers don't understand the differences which can in fact hurt developers and the customers experience of an app. For example, Apple provides Region Monitoring as part of their SDK which needs 'Always' location services to function, without it, it just won't work.

I am developing an app that requires Region Monitoring but I have no interest in the users location, in fact the location details never leave the device but to provide the necessary experience, 'Always' location services must be selected.

Don't get me wrong, if other devs have ulterior motives, which we know some do, then this is very welcome but for those devs, such as myself, who need Always location for a feature in the dev-kit that Apple provides, it's not good news.

Apple should retool the system to be more precise. Such as, “Always on, but location details aren’t shared”.

My example may not be the best worded, but there should be a way for developers, such as yourself, to safely enable location sharing without compromising someone’s privacy.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 weeks ago
I wish there was a way to quickly always allow in the background for some apps to avoid constant notifications.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 weeks ago


some developers are concerned that frequent location tracking reminders will hurt adoption of their apps.

I have rather their adoption rate hurt then my privacy. I want to choose with whom I share my location when and how often. If they have a legit reason to ask for this in their app that benefits me then I share it, otherwise not.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Warns Against Closing MacBooks With a Cover Over the Camera

Friday July 10, 2020 11:12 am PDT by
Apple this month published a support document that warns customers against closing their Mac notebooks with a cover over the camera as it can lead to display damage. Image via Reddit Apple says that the clearance between the display and the keyboard is designed to very tight tolerances, which can be problematic. Covering the camera can also cause issues with automatic brightness and True Tone....

Leaker: 'iPhone 12 Pro' to Come With 6GB of RAM

Friday July 10, 2020 1:59 am PDT by
Later this year, Apple is expected to release four OLED iPhones in three display sizes, including 5.4, 6.7, and two 6.1-inch models. Rumors suggest the 6.7-inch iPhone and one 6.1-inch model will be higher-end devices, and now leaker @L0vetodream has corroborated previous rumors about the internal specs of Apple's upcoming lineup. Rumors suggest Apple will use 5-nanometer A14 chips in its...

Apple Moving Forward on Semitransparent Lenses for Upcoming AR Headset

Friday July 10, 2020 7:24 am PDT by
Apple and Foxconn have reached a key milestone in the development of Apple's long-rumored augmented reality headset, with the semitransparent lenses for the device moving from prototype to trial production, reports The Information. Apple is developing the lenses on a single production line at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu in southwestern China, where most of Apple’s iPad production is...

Kuo: Apple Silicon Macs to Include 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air This Year, 14.1-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro Models Next Year

Friday July 10, 2020 2:58 am PDT by
At last month's WWDC, Apple officially announced that its Mac computers will be transitioned from Intel x86 to homegrown Apple Silicon chips. Apple said it plans to deliver the first Apple Silicon Mac by the end of the year and complete the transition in about two years. According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a form factor similar to the current 13.3-inch...

Arm-Intel-PowerPC Universal Binaries Are Possible

Saturday July 11, 2020 1:42 pm PDT by
Casual MacRumors visitors may not realize that we have a very active PowerPC forum where users discuss issues related to PowerPC Macs that have not been produced since 2006. Threads range from hardware upgrades and software options to nostalgia: Photo by AphoticD Apple's recently announced transition to Apple Silicon (Arm) based Macs raised some interesting questions about future support...

iPhone 12 Sizes Compared with iPhone SE, 7, 8, SE 2, X, 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max [Update]

Tuesday July 7, 2020 6:49 pm PDT by
Apple is planning on launching the iPhone 12 this fall which is rumored to be coming in 3 different sizes: 5.4", 6.1" and 6.7". The middle size (6.1") matches up with the currently shipping iPhone 11, but the other two sizes will be entirely new. Over the weekend, there was some excitement about how well the new 5.4" iPhone 12 compares to the original iPhone SE. Those who have been hoping...

Tom Hanks WWII Movie 'Greyhound' Debuts on Apple TV+

Friday July 10, 2020 3:33 am PDT by
Apple TV+ today debuted "Greyhound," the highly anticipated Second World War movie starring Tom Hanks as a naval officer given command of Navy destroyer Greyhound in the Battle of the Atlantic. "Greyhound" features Hanks as George Krause, who must fight his own self doubts and personal demons as he leads a convoy of Allied ships against German U-boats to prove that he belongs in command. ...

Top Stories: iOS 14 Public Beta, iPhone 12 Size Comparison, 14-Inch MacBook Pro Rumors

Saturday July 11, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
After one round of developer beta testing, Apple unleashed iOS and iPadOS 14 to a wider audience this week, opening it up to members of the public beta program. There are lots of changes and new features to check out, but as with any beta, be careful about installing it on your main devices. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Other major stories this week included our ...

Hands-On With tvOS 14: Picture in Picture, 4K YouTube, HomeKit and More

Thursday July 9, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple at WWDC introduced a new version of tvOS, the software that's designed to run on the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models. tvOS updates are often more minor in scale than iOS, watchOS, and macOS updates, but tvOS 14 has some useful new features. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Apple in tvOS 13 introduced a Picture in Picture option for the Apple TV...

Apple CEO Tim Cook's 2019 Compensation Totaled Over $133 Million

Friday July 10, 2020 12:01 pm PDT by
Apple CEO Tim Cook was the second highest paid CEO in the United States in 2019, according to Bloomberg's list of the highest paid CEOs and executives in 2019. Cook received compensation totaling $133,727,869 by Bloomberg's count. Almost all of Cook's compensation was provided in the form of stock awards and related performance bonuses. As reported by the SEC earlier this year, Cook received ...