Back in June, Apple announced several major changes for location permissions in iOS 13 to be released in September. While these changes are beneficial to end-users by providing them with greater control and transparency on how apps are using their location, it ups the ante for developers requesting such access.

Below, we’ve outlined the four major changes to be aware of:

  1. ‘Always Allow’ User-Flow: Updated
  2. ‘Allow Once’ Permission: New
  3. Location Permission Map: New
  4. Bluetooth Permissions: Updated

‘Always Allow’ User-Flow

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The Always Allowoption, which grants an app “background” location access, has been removed from the initial location permissions prompt. Instead, users can select Keep Only While Using (aka “foreground” permission) or select a new option,Allow Once. So how does an app then get upgraded to “background” location permission? If the user continues to use the app, iOS 13 will now automatically and periodically prompt to upgrade location permissions from While Using to Always Allow.

‘Allow Once’ Permission

iOS 13 introduces a new location permissions setting: Allow Once. On initial app install, if the user selects the Allow Onceoption, iOS 13 will grant the app location permissions for a single session only.

Location Permission Map Prompt

For apps granted Always Allow location permissions, iOS 13 will periodically display a “map prompt” (see below). The “map prompt” displays the location points collected by the app. In testing, we’ve identified that this prompt will be triggered after 3 consecutive days of background location use, and will continue to appear periodically with continued use.

Bluetooth Permissions Update

iOS 13 will now show a specific permission prompt when an app attempts to access any Bluetooth services. Apps created for iOS 12, now running on 13, will trigger a somewhat generic version of the Bluetooth prompt (see below).

iOS 13 Developer Recommendations

The new permission prompts in iOS 13 give users more transparency and control over the location information their device is sharing. App publishers have expressed concern about the adoption rates for app location services in light of these changes, but we believe by following best practices, publishers with a strong location use case will continue to see high ‘opt-in’ rates for location services, including background location.

Demonstrate the value of location to your users

To drive strong adoption of location services, clearly communicate the value of location-based services in a way that resonates with users in-app. Apps only get one ‘permissions at-bat,’ so test the specific wording that will appear in your iOS 13 location prompts to ensure it is accurate, transparent, and clearly communicates the value of location services in your app.

Avoid unnecessary Bluetooth permission prompts

  • If your app uses Bluetooth services for beacon technology and is currently in the App Store, update your app to include specific Bluetooth prompt text to ensure continued high rates of opt-in for Bluetooth services.
  • To avoid unnecessary Bluetooth permission prompts, instantiate and access Bluetooth iOS services only if and when your app needs them.