Apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp may need redesigns thanks to iOS 13's background access restrictions
Messaging apps that can initiate VoIP calls may need to be redesigned due to a new feature in iOS 13. The upcoming update for Apple’s mobile operating system will limit data collection and background access for apps, something that messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp rely on.
Both of these apps (and those like them) rely on background processes to detect, or “listen,” for incoming Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) calls. These background processes have also been found to collect user and system data, but iOS 13 will include software that blocks this data collection. The new version of iOS, which is expected to debut later this fall, will still allow the apps to run background processes that can listen for incoming calls.
The new restrictions could alter how these messaging apps fundamentally work, necessitating redesigns ahead of the update’s release. A handful of apps, including WeChat and Snapchat, rely on VoIP-centered background processes for some functionality.
Facebook told The Information, the news outlet reporting on the changes, that
"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."
Considering Facebook’s track record when it comes to handling user data, the background process-blocking features in iOS 13 may be welcome additions for consumers.