Apple is apparently changing a feature that will directly affect apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. The small change in iOS 13 will severely restrict Facebook Messengers ability to make collect data in the background.
As of now the calling feature on apps like Messenger runs in the background. This helps you receive and make calls seamlessly. However, the feature also allows third-party apps to collect data in the background. It is for this reason that Apple has restricted background access for only internet calls. Typically internet calling feature allows messaging apps to remain active in the background. It also helps in end-to-end encryption. Once Apple enforces the new changes, developers will be forced to rebuild their app.
A Facebook spokesperson was quoted as follows, “The changes to the upcoming iOS releases are not insignificant, but we are in conversations with Apple on how best to address.” the spokesperson further added that “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.”
The change will be a part of iOS 13 which is expected to roll out this September. However, app developers will be given a deadline until April 2020 to comply with the changes. Facebook is trying to get traction by bettering its messaging app, however, this is expected to challenge Apple’s iMessage.
Apple’s change in iOS 13 might seem harsh and unreasonable. However, a lot of things are at stake when it comes to privacy. Apple claims that it still allows Messenger to use VoIP mode. Earlier, Facebook has been caught using the main app to run VoIP in the background and was barred from doing so. Apart from collecting data, apps that run in the background also drain the battery.
It is learned that apps like WeChat and Snapchat use voice calling feature in the background for reasons not related to voice calls. I personally feel that Apple did a good thing by restricting the purpose for which the app can run in the background. We only hope that Apple is not playing the god by restricting third-party apps whilst allowing their own app to collect unrelated data.