iOS 13. Apple will hit Facebook. WhatsApp, Messenger and others with difficult access to data

By | August 14, 2019

In iOS 13 there will be a small, but extremely important change regarding access to data by applications, which can seriously hinder the lives of companies who like to collect data. An obvious example is Facebook and its Messenger and WhatsApp.

This change is intended to limit applications’ access to background data. As The Information indicates, this is primarily about communicators with a voice call function. At present, the libraries responsible for the conversation remain active at all times. This allows you to initiate a connection faster, but also makes it easier to perform other operations, such as collecting data, as well as consuming hardware resources. The new iOS 13 is to end it.

Citing two people familiar with the project, The Information states that Apple wants to force Facebook and the rest to redesign messengers. Apparently, WhatsApp, which is even based on background operations, will even suffer, which even applies to encryption. However, in fact, all creators have a problem.

Facebook spokesman maintains that the company does not collect data through the connection function. – Changes in the upcoming versions of iOS are not insignificant, but we are talking with Apple about what to do best, – said the representative. – Simply put, we use the PushKit VoIP API to provide world-class private messaging services, not to collect user data, he assured.

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For a change, Apple’s spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

Gracious Apple? Not exactly
Has Apple noticed much absolute privacy and wants to help users? – you will ask. Well, not exactly. The reason seems to be different. Recently, Facebook has taken an offensive in the communication market, an example of which is adding the company name to the names of Instagram and WhatsApp applications. There is reasonable suspicion that in Cupertino they are worried about the position of iMessage, which in the United States is one of the strongest arguments for choosing an iPhone.

The iOS 13 operating system will debut in September, although the deadline for adapting to the new specifications is April 2020. Interestingly, the change in the PushKit VoIP API has already been announced at the June conference for programmers, WDC, but has not enjoyed too much public interest.

Maintain at all costs

On the other hand, Facebook clearly doesn’t have clean hands. The debate on how Zuckerberga uses VoIP has been going on for many years. Although Facebook messages were thrown into the standalone Messenger application in 2014, the Menlo Park company tried to keep the API in the main application. Philip Shoemaker, then the head of the Apple app evaluation team, confesses that in 2016 the trick was unmasked and the library was removed. However, Messenger and WhatsApp still use this feature.

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“Messenger can still use [VoIP in the background] mode, and that’s it,” said Shoemaker. – What they do in the background, regardless of whether it is taking calls, eavesdropping or updating the content of the main application, is not clear to Apple – the expert added.

And in addition to potential data collection, every background process consumes system resources, reducing battery life. Anyway, this was the argument when it was discovered that Facebook’s main application was using voice calling in the background, although there is no such need. The topic briefly hit the headlines.

Other well-known applications, such as Snapchat and Chinese WeChat, are also using VoIP to run in the background for reasons unrelated to voice calls, one of the people familiar with the problem said. Snap did not have an immediate comment, and WeChat did not respond to a request for comment – we read. It’s easy to deduce what it all means.