Why Are Apps Asking for Bluetooth Access in iOS 13?

Luke JohnsonTechnology

Why Are Apps Asking for Bluetooth Access in iOS 13? - VOiD Applications
This September has seen the release the iOS 13, which the iPadOS then followed with its release not long after. As part of iOS 13’s recent privacy and security improvements, apps will now need to ask for permission to access Bluetooth in iOS 13 & iPadOS devices.

If they need or want to access Bluetooth on either your; iPhone, iPod or iPad, then this will be followed by notifications alerting you that third-party apps wish to use Bluetooth, some cases include permission for location access via Bluetooth also.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth location privacy enhancements were adopted due to, “API changes and new controls to help prevent apps from accessing your location without your consent while you’re using Wi-fi and Bluetooth.” This has now bought to light how many apps that may have been using your Bluetooth in the past without the knowledge of the actual user themselves.

There are big names already requesting for Bluetooth permission in iOS 13, from Google, Youtube, Facebook and Spotify, through to food delivery and banking apps.

All of this shouldn’t be mistaken for those apps actually changing themselves, they’re exactly the same app as previous, but the case is they have been using Bluetooth on your device before iOS 13, you were just never notified on it. As this access was granted in the background by your own device.

You should always take into consideration certain aspects when you decide on whether to allow or disallow access to any service, not just your Bluetooth.

What is it all for?

If you’ve updated, you’ll have probably seen the notification ‘“Facebook” would like to use Bluetooth’ along with “This app uses Bluetooth to connect to and share information with accessories and other Apple devices”. Some developers have no current way to explain, exactly why they wish to use Bluetooth, and hopefully this changes in the future.

You could assume that all reasons for apps requesting access are for everyone’s best interests. Certain examples such as the use of Spotify expending Bluetooth to recognise when a connection to a car stereo system is made, is for it to then switch to “Car View” to function using the external speaker.

Why Are Apps Asking for Bluetooth Access in iOS 13? - VOiD Applications

Amazon Alexa requesting Bluetooth Connection so you can pair with your IoT devices.

To Allow or Disallow?

You should always take into consideration certain aspects when you decide on whether to allow or disallow access to any service, not just your Bluetooth.

Always ask or think why a certain app may need Bluetooth access, and by doing this you need to consider whether you trust the app or developer in the first place.

By putting your best interests first, you should always disallow any access requested and attempt to use the app the way you normally would. As it may not be necessary to even grant access in order for you get what you need from it.

Our Top Tip!

In order for you to get a real grasp on your device and specifically alter your Bluetooth permissions, head over to ‘Settings’ on your iOS device, then scroll down and select ‘Privacy’. Select ‘Bluetooth’.

You should be then met with a list of your apps which request the ability to share data via Bluetooth. Turn the switch off or on for each of these devices.

Quick fact: These apps can share data even when you’re not using them.

Let us know what you think about devices being transparent in requesting access through features of your phone over on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t be surprised if you open those apps on the way you get the same request discussed here!

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