Ahead of iOS 13, Facebook Defends Real-Time Location Tracking in iOS

Facebook appears to be trying to get ahead of a new iPhone privacy feature that gives you far more control over how often apps can access your location.

In a new press release, the social media giant detailed the ways it uses location data and outlined how users can control location settings in Apple’s upcoming iOS 13 and Google’s Android 10.

According to the company, both Android and iOS 13 feature tools that will show users which apps have access to their location and, with iOS 13 particularly, how often apps have used the information. This means that users will now have further control over apps like Facebook, and will be able to see when the platform has accessed their location.

iOS 13 will reportedly provide a pop-up that informs users about how many times an individual app has used background location over the past few days. That means that some Facebook users may soon be confronted with an Apple-created pop-up telling them that Facebook has used their location in the background some number of times over the past few days, and including a map marking where Facebook asked the phone for its coordinates.

“If you are using iOS 13, you will begin to receive notifications about when an app is using your precise location in the background and how many times an app has accessed that information,” according to Facebook. “The notification will also include a map of the location data an app has received and an explanation why the app uses that type of location information.”

The blog post appears to be a way to get out in front of the upcoming changes made by Apple and Google in their respective operating systems that could unsettle Facebook users given the company’s poor reputation for privacy.

“You’re in control of who sees your location on Facebook. You can control whether your device shares precise location information with Facebook via Location Services, a setting on your phone or tablet,” McDonald noted.