location prompt in iOS 13

The wild, wild west of mobile location is over. The unstated ‘do-as-you-please’ industry attitude is shifting as consumers demand better transparency, competition heats up, and new regulation takes effect (e.g. GDPR and CCPA). But the biggest change yet comes from Apple’s rollout of the new iOS 13 permissions – specifically the location prompt. 

Companies can no longer ignore privacy and hope to escape a scathing press cycle. Consumers want more transparency. But even that’s not enough. Companies need to deliver value that’s proportional to the data they’re collecting.

Show me the value in location data

Unlocking opportunity with unparalleled accuracy

Apple’s changes to the location prompt in iOS 13 are an opportunity for companies to turn location from a liability into leverage that cuts through the noise. Use mobile location the right way to outsmart competitors and deliver meaningful engagements with customers.

This is where accurate mobile location saves the day, and the user, by powering transformative experiences such as automated check-ins for buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) or curbside delivery. This requires accuracy down to 10 meters. Geofences with only 100+ meter accuracy will not be effective in delivering these kinds of high-impact experiences. 

Location accuracy matters. 

What value are you delivering? Is the value exchange obvious and proportional? Does your geofencing software have the accuracy to power compelling, high-impact experiences?

What’s new about the iOS 13 location prompts?

At a high level, the sequence of location permissions is changing in iOS 13. Most notably, the ‘always’ permission option will be replaced with ‘only once’ in the initial prompt. 

When the ‘always’ prompt is given, it will typically be accompanied by a background location map showing recent places where the app has received location updates.

Apple is adding a recurring reminder prompt asking users if they want to continue allowing ‘Always’ or want to ‘Change to Only While Using.’

Another change is a new, distinct permission prompt just for Bluetooth (specific to Bluetooth beacons).

Let’s step through this new flow one prompt at a time.

iOS 13 location prompt - permission sequence

1st location prompt on iOS 13

The location permissions in the first prompt will include:

  • Allow While Using
  • Allow Once
  • Don’t Allow
initial location prompt in iOS 13

Your location is used to automate tolling payments when the app is open.

Notice the customizable subtext explaining why the app needs ‘While Using’ location permission. This messaging is critical in helping consumers understand why and how location is used to deliver value.

If ‘Allow While Using’ is selected, sometime after that in-app session, the user will receive the 2nd location prompt (see below).

If “Allow Once” is selected, the user will see this same prompt the next time they open the app. This pattern continues as many times as the user selects ‘Allow Once.’

location permissions in iOS settings
Users can manually change location permissions via iOS settings.

There is no ‘Always’ option at this point. If users want to grant the app ‘Always’ location permission at this point, they will have to go into iOS Settings and change it manually.

2nd location prompt on iOS 13

The location permission in the second prompt (and subsequent requests for ‘Always’) will include:

  • Keep Only While Using
  • Change to Always Allow
second location prompt in iOS 13

If ‘Keep Only While Using’ is selected, this prompt may periodically be shown in the future to prompt users to ‘Change to Always Allow.’ 

Notice the ‘Don’t Allow’ option has been removed from this prompt.

location prompt 2 with location background map

Based on our beta testing of iOS 13, the background map will only appear after the initial showing of this 2nd location prompt.

Users can still manually change location permissions to ‘Always’ via settings at any time.

Recurring location prompt on iOS 13

This recurring prompt is completely new and will be shown periodically for all apps granted ‘Always’ permission. It will include the following permission options:

  • Change to Only While Using
  • Always Allow

In addition to the options above, the prompt will also have a map showing recent location pings the app received when the app was NOT in use. This background map is shown for all apps using location, whether native geofencing or proprietary geofencing.

location prompt 3 with background map

Your location is used to safely automate tolling payments as you drive through a toll road (while the app is in the background). If “Only While Using” is selected, the app will need to be open as you drive through a toll road to automate payment.

Again, notice the customizable subtext where apps can provide a specific explanation for why and how location is being used to deliver value. 

This example of Easy Tolling’s request for location is both transparent and specific. The end-user knows exactly how their location will be used if they select ‘Only While Using’ or if they select ‘Always Allow.’ The clarity around the value exchange is critical.

These recurring location reminders are shown when the user is not in the app (i.e. the prompt might come from the home screen or while in another app). This helps users understand the app is using their location in the background.

Notice the ‘Don’t allow’ option has also been removed from this prompt.

New Bluetooth Permission

Another new prompt in iOS 13 is the distinct Bluetooth permission. Previously, Bluetooth was rolled into a single location permission. Now users will be promoted to authorize permission for Bluetooth. 

Note this prompt is specific to Bluetooth beacons and does not apply to Bluetooth audio (i.e. Air Pods). 

Bluetooth prompt in iOS 13

The bottom line

iOS 13 brings opportunity. But it also requires navigation. We’re here to help you navigate the changes and unlock opportunity by powering valuable, real-world experiences for app users.

Learn what iOS 13 means for marketers and mobile managers in our next blog post: iOS 13 Location Prompt: What It Means.

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