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iOS 11 ‘Blue Bar’ Feature Increases Visibility of Apps Using Location Access

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When iOS 11 is available later this year, users will have the option to customize how each app uses his or her location — regardless of the options a developer provides.

According to a new report from TechCrunch, iOS 11 includes a feature in which “a more prominent blue status bar that appears when an app is actively using your location while running in the background.”

Prior to iOS 11, users could only use one of the location access options provided by developers. That meant, for an app like Uber, you were limited to two options. If a developer didn’t want to include the option for use only while you are using the app, you were stuck with Never or Always.

iOS 11 includes a “While Using The App” setting, as well as the inclusion of a blue bar at the top when an app is actively using your location in the background.

This feature obviously impacts apps that rely on location data, such as Uber or Foursquare. However, it also impacts apps that use location data for more suspect purposes, such as reselling location data or displaying location-based advertisements without users knowing.

“The apps that will be most significantly impacted are those that need to lurk in the background 24/7, even if the user has not run the app in the foreground for quite some time, and automatically wake up based on location,” says Pete Tenereillo, CEO of location startup Pathsense.

According to Tenereillo, this largely includes family safety and family locator-type apps, smart home apps, insurance telematics apps, and those using location-based advertising, reads the report.

With iOS 11 still in beta, most users won’t be able to take advantage of this minor yet highly welcome update for quite some time. If history is any indication, iOS 11 will be released to the public this September just days ahead of the expected iPhone 8 launch.

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