Messaging Apps under Apple’s Scrutiny; Plans to Restrict Access to Background Data

It’s a well-known fact that apps that perform voice calls through the internet can access data in the background. This is all going to change soon. According to The Information, Apple is thinking to restrict how some messaging apps (WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, for instance) implement internet voice call functionality in the background. It will give access to voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls and nothing else.

Currently, the aforementioned social messaging apps are able to run in the background even when it’s not been used. There’s a technical reason as to why apps behave this way. It allows the apps to connect calls faster if the users need to use it, anytime. But it also performs unrelated tasks, such as collecting the user’s data, that it shouldn’t do. Apple is implementing strict rules to stop this nuisance.

Apple is gradually making changes to its platform and this year’s WWDC was evident as it had silently announced these changes back in June. A report further claims that the developers of the said applications have been given until April 2020 to make the necessary changes mentioned to them so as to comply with changes in the firm’s platform.

With this, Apple is making it crystal clear that it won’t let such apps run amok and that they will have to face restriction soon enough. This portrays Apple as a privacy-focused company who would rule out unethical practices unequivocally. But, it gets interesting from here. Apple and Facebook share a rocky history and the said restrictions will give Apple the upper hand to dominate the social media platform.

To jog your memory, Apple had blocked Facebook Research app back in January, on its platform based on a report that suggested Facebook was using the app to get rooted access to users’ phone data in exchange for $20 a month. Apple also revoked Facebook’s enterprise access for violating its terms of use rendering the company’s internal apps useless for nearly 24 hours. There wasn’t any official comment from Facebook.


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