Apple’s iOS 13 comes with some major changes to privacy and security, but it’s also highlighted the data collection practices of firms such as Facebook and Google.
One of the first things you might notice when using Apple’s iOS 13 is a notification when opening an app such as Facebook asking for Bluetooth permission.
Sure, some apps need access to Bluetooth to work properly. Take, for example the Fitbit smartwatch. But others use Bluetooth to stealthily track people’s location using beacons dotted around in cities and shopping areas.
The Verge’s Chris Welch wrote a useful article including more detail on apps that need Bluetooth. He points out that many iPhone users will assume they need to grant Bluetooth permission for their music apps to work with Bluetooth headphones or speakers. Not so: Bluetooth audio is handled through your system settings, separately from your apps.
Another major change in iOS 13, which relates to location settings, could affect firms such as Google and Facebook significantly. Apple’s updated operating system will now show you how often your location has been recorded and by which apps. It will do this proactively via a pop up, which shows a map of where you have been tracked, including the option to allow or limit it.
Previously, many apps were able to track you in the background without your knowledge. They were able to collect vast amounts of data on you, which they could use to target you with advertising.
Along the same theme, another blow to apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp is a change in Apple’s iOS 13 that will not allow messaging and calling apps to run in the background when the programs are not actively in use. Before, apps such as these were able to collect information on what you were doing on your device.