Apple Does it Again

In yet another privacy enhancing move, Apple announced that iOS 11 will no longer allow app developers to force always-on location services. If you’re like me, you became aware of this issue when Uber removed the “when App is running” option from their App’s location services so that users were forced to grant them permission to access their location at any time, whether or not the Uber App was running.

Uber claimed this was so they could figure out exactly where users were going after they were dropped off and use the data to provide better pick up services. Nevertheless, many users were uneasy with the move and some even resorted to manually disabling location services for the App except when they were actually using it.

That was an inconvenient and clunky solution that, happily, will no longer be needed. As of iOS 11, apps will be unable to disable the “only when running” option. Apple is also providing a mechanism to allow Apps to later request “always-on location services” after they have established some trust with the user. The post at the link has more details on this.

Apple deserves praise for this move and for building antitracking functionality into the new Safari. I wish other companies would be as diligent at protecting their users’ privacy.

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