Apple forces popular VoIP apps to be rewritten to protect user privacy

Apple forces popular VoIP apps to be rewritten to protect user privacy


Facebook Messenger on an iPad
Facebook Messenger is fun, chatty... and always running in the background whether you’re using it or not. Always.
Photo: Facebook

A change in iOS 13 that limits what applications can do when running in the background will force a rewrite of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other apps that offer voice calls.

While these developers will be inconvenienced, the goal is to increase the battery lives and performance of all iOS devices. The change will also make iPhones and iPads more secure.

Facebook Messenger is always with you

Using the excuse that they need to be ready to receive incoming voice calls, VoIP apps are always running in the background, according to The Information.

As a bonus, this allows these applications to launch very quickly. But they also could potentially eavesdrop on other software running on the iOS device.

Their developers insist they’re not doing this. “We are using the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a world-class, private messaging experience, not for the purpose of collecting data,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Information.

Even so, software that’s perpetually running in the background is occupying RAM that other applications also need. And by doing so they are using precious battery power.

iOS 13 limits VoIP apps

iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 provides new VoIP push notifications that end the need for applications like WhatsApp to be constantly in the background. These notifications will alert applications that aren’t running that they are receiving an incoming call.

Adopting this change will reportedly require significant rewrites to VoIP applications. But developers have some time. The modifications don’t have to be made until April of next year.


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