Apple iOS 13 makes it harder for app makers to track location data

Anne Freier

In App Business. October 9, 2019

Apple’s latest iOS update – iOS 13 – is asking users for permission to share their location data with app markers. The move could potentially stifle app marketing for app developers. Apple is known to take on advertisers and app marketers through its iOS roll-outs that are providing ever more privacy and security installations for its handset users.

iOS 13 asks users if they want to allow Bluetooth access for app publishers.

Companies such as Best Buy could, for example, connect to a user’s phone via Bluetooth to enable access to their own accessories and consumer features.

But access is no longer automatically granted. Instead, iOS 13 automatically denies permission for Best Buy until a user grants access.

Security and privacy updates installed with iOS 13 also make it harder for retailers to track smartphone users who were previously connected to a WiFi hotspot.

According to Statista, Apple iOS has a market share of 48% in the US which means the update seriously stifles location data collection for app marketers.

But according to Joshua Anton, CEO of data location company X-Mode, the iOS 13 update helps smartphone users to avoid granting location access to shady apps. Users will continue to happily share their location with apps such as weather and map apps.

The move could drive up prices for marketers if location data decline. At the same time, the quality of the available location data will significantly improve.

“Any time you ask a consumer or shopper for a piece of data, they have to understand the value exchange, but the way it is going out with iOS 13, these notifications are popping up and asking for permission without any context or value exchange,” says Keith Soljacich, the VP of Digitas North America. “I would love if Apple’s new update would at least give me a chance to explain what sort of experiences giving this data will provide.”