Developers of Secure Messaging Apps Scrambling to Comply with iOS 13 Privacy Changes

With iOS 13, Apple is limiting the ability to collect data using the PushKit API which is used for VoIP calls. Apart from affecting apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, this will also have an effect on encrypted messaging apps like Signal, Wickr, Wire, and Threema.

The PushKit API was always designed for VoIP calls. However, many messaging apps started using it for collecting data and encryption purposes. Apple is putting an end to all this in iOS 13 and only allowing the use of the API for VoIP calls. This has left developers of encrypted messaging apps “scrambling to overhaul” their apps so that the key privacy features continue to work.

Many of these app developers believe that the changes made by Apple will result in the “opposite of the privacy goals” that the company wanted to achieve.

An Apple spokesperson issued the following statement to The Information:

“We’ve heard feedback on the API changes introduced in iOS 13 to further protect user privacy and are working closely with iOS developers to help them implement their feature requests.”

While developers of encrypted app messaging services can find a workaround, it requires a significant engineering effort on their part. Plus, the solutions are notably inferior to what Apple offered with the PushKit API.

The restrictions in the PushKit API will be applicable from 2020, but developers who want to update their apps for iOS 13 and take advantage of some of its new API will have to update it sooner.

[Via The Information]