iOS developers will now be able to send you ads through notifications — as long as they’ve your consent. Apple has updated its App Store guidelines and one of the new changes allows third-party companies to use push notifications for “promotions or direct marketing purposes.” Developers will be, however, required to program an opt-out switch and explicitly ask for permission before spamming their users.
“Push Notifications should not be used for promotions or direct marketing purposes unless customers have explicitly opted in to receive them via consent language displayed in your app’s UI, and you provide a method in your app for a user to opt out from receiving such messages,” states the new policy.
In the last two years, as hardware revenue stalls and Apple continues its push towards services, the company has been caught on several occasions unlawfully promoting its own products through notifications. The move was criticized for being anti-competitive and ironic since at that time, developers were restricted from using “Apple Services to spam, phish, or send unsolicited messages to customers, including Game Center, Push Notifications, etc.”
The new policy will extend that privilege to third-party developers while ensuring users have the ability to easily opt out if they want. We don’t expect this to result in a deluge of ad spam on iOS as opposed to Android where frail policies have let developers run amok.
Other than that, Apple is also cracking down on “dating” and “fortune telling” apps. Unless the app offers a “unique, high-quality experience”, it will be rejected, wrote Apple in the updated guidelines. Similarly, submissions generic apps like for triggering the flashlight or producing burp noises won’t be approved unless they stand out.
In addition, Apple has set a deadline for when developers need to update their apps with the iOS 13 SDK features. Apps that offer sign-in options will be mandatorily required to add Apple’s own single sign-on service, Sign In With Apple.
Apple launched its log-in system last year as a more private alternative to the ones by Facebook and Google. On Sign In With Apple, users also have the option to hide their email address and instead, feed a third-party app a randomly generated ID.