Professor, Designer, Husband, Father, Gamer, Bagpiper

Some developers are upset with changes Apple has made to the location permissions. They've taken advantage of user's casual willingness to give up their location data without thinking too deeply about it, and a throwing a tantrum that Apple is yet again putting user privacy first.  (The banner image on this post expresses my deep sympathy for these developers, I hope they can hear the soft sweet sounds of Steve's tiny violin.)

Speaking for myself (and iOS users in general), I'm pleased.  First, the new permission prompt enables "only once" as a permission for location, which should always have been possible.  There are plenty of dodgy apps (e.g., most social media apps, location-aware games, and so on) that I might want to engage with occasionally, that I want to be asked each and every time I run it if it can have my location.  That was not possible before;  as a user, I could only choose between "Never", "Always" and "While using App".  If I only wanted to give permission once and then take it away, I was forced to dive into the system preferences and turn location off.

Image from MacRumors article linked above

Now, if I really want to always give location access to an app, I need to dig into the preferences.  Which is absolutely the right choice.  That is the riskiest, most invasive choice, and should be reserved for a small number of apps.  And so it should be the hardest.

The list of companies jointly complaining to Apple illustrates my point.  There isn't a single app on this list that you should give "Always Allow" location permission to without thinking carefully about it, and if you decide you want to, it's not that difficulty to accomplish.  

  • Tile - Makes tracking devices for wallets, keys, and other objects.
  • Arity - A company owned by Allstate that developers technology for measuring driver risk.
  • Life360 - An app for sharing location with family and friends.
  • Zenly - A location sharing app owned by Snap.
  • Zendrive - A company that makes driver assessment apps.
  • Twenty - A social networking app for finding friends nearby.
  • Happn - A dating app.

Bravo to Apple for taking another step to safeguard user privacy.

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