At WWDC in June, Apple announced what to expect from the latest version of iOS, iOS 14. On September 16th, iOS 14 was released to the public. All the new features of iOS 14 can be found on the Apple developer website. In this article, we will focus on the 3 most significant changes of this new OS for mobile apps and push notifications.
Permission to Track
With iOS 14, Apple is introducing a new AppTrackingTransparency API to be used with a new permission setting called “Asking Permission to Track”. With this change, app developers will be required to receive a user’s permission through the AppTrackingTransparency framework in order to track them or access their device’s advertising identifier (IDFA). Below are some of the tracking methods Apple is concerned about with regards to the AppTrackingTransparency request:
- Display targeted advertisements in your app based on user data collected from apps and websites owned by other companies.
- Sharing device location data or email lists with a data broker.
- Sharing a list of emails, advertising IDs, or other IDs with a third-party advertising network that uses that information to retarget those users in other developers’ apps or to find similar users.
- Placing a third-party SDK in your app that combines user data from your app with user data from other developers’ apps to target advertising or measure advertising efficiency, even if you don’t use the SDK for these purposes.
More details about the AppTrackingTransparency API are available on the Apple Website.
The AppTrackingTransparency API doesn’t directly impact our SDK tracking, as Accengage does NOT track users across apps, NOR share/resell user data.
Therefore, if users decline the tracking permission request but allow push notifications, our SDK will be functional. You will always be able to track the essential data required by our SDK's as well as your custom fields. In addition, push notifications, In-app messages, Inbox messages, and schedule alarms will function the same.
However, the AppTrackingTransparency will directly affect our customers who use the IDFA as a matching key. If users do not grant permission to track, the user’s IDFA will not be available. Therefore, we will not be able to track this data nor use it to associate between Accengage and your own database.
For our clients who currently use IDFA as a matching key between your database and Accengage, we recommend setting up a unique client ID to identify each user. This will ensure a match even if the user declines the AppTrackingTransparency request. While Apple originally stated at WWDC that gathering this permission would be required with iOS 14, they have since announced that apps won’t be required to collect user permission until early 2021. If you need further information on this topic, please feel free to contact your project manager or our support team.
A new setting will allow users to share an approximate location with an app, rather than their precise location. When an app asks for location permission, it will be marked as Precise: On or Precise: Off. Users can also modify their location permissions in the device settings, Settings > Privacy > Location Services and toggle Precise Location on or off for each app individually. Note that location permissions will default to Precise: On. With this change, Apple does not communicate the exact size of the radius that the user is located in, though they have stated it will be a radius of 1-20km. In addition, the approximate location is updated much less frequently.
These new Apple restrictions directly impact some of our features. If users only grant permission for approximate location, Accengage’s Geofence and iBeacon features will be impacted. Unfortunately, we are limited by Apple and we cannot bypass this new regulation.
Privacy information on the App Store
The latest important change from iOS 14 is the disclosure of an app’s privacy practices within the App Store. On each app’s product page, users will be able to learn about some of the data types an app may collect, and whether the information is used to track them or is linked to their identity or device. This section will be composed of the following parts: Data collection; Data use; Data linked to the user; Tracking; Privacy links.
The list of information collected via the Accengage SDK that customers must report when submitting an app to the app will soon be available in our technical documentation. Also, you can find additional details about this topic on the Apple Developer Website. Apple has stated this policy will come into effect sometime this year.
To get started with iOS 14, update your app to version 7.1.0 of our iOS SDK, which includes support for iOS 14 and Xcode 12.
If you’re looking for an SDK that includes all of the new iOS 14 features, including App Clips, check out the Airship documentation. You can also check out the Airship blog for a recap on WWDC 2020 and our iOS 14 support.
Please feel free to contact our support team if you have any questions regarding this topic.