In brief: Apple has always placed a much greater emphasis on user privacy than other companies in the tech industry, and that trend doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. New reports claim that the smartphone maker will block two Facebook-owned apps from running VOIP in the background on privacy grounds.
This block will be part of Apple’s next big smartphone OS update, iOS 13, according to The Information. iOS 13 is expected to arrive sometime this fall, and it will be bringing a host of other features and improvements to the popular mobile OS (including a long-requested dark mode).
The primary reason for Apple’s decision to block VOIP from functioning in the background relates to privacy fears, as hinted at before. Apple worries that apps like the Facebook-owned Messenger and WhatsApp could collect user data if they’re allowed to run the protocol at all times.
Facebook, for its part, has distanced itself from this idea. “The changes to the upcoming iOS releases are not insignificant, but we are in conversations with Apple on how best to address. To be clear—we are using the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a world-class, private messaging experience, not for the purpose of collecting data,” a company spokesman told The Information.
“To be clear—we are using the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a world-class, private messaging experience, not for the purpose of collecting data,”
Whether or not you take the company at its word is up to you. Of course, it is worth noting that this is far from the first time Facebook has tangled with privacy woes — the social media giant’s notorious Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal is still discussed to this day.
At any rate, as the company noted in the above quote, Facebook is currently talking with Apple to find a solution to the dilemma. Until that occurs, though, you may wish to delay updating to iOS 13 if the ability to run VOIP functionality in the background is important to you.