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Apple now allows iOS apps to send ads through push notifications

iOS developers will now be able to send you ads through notifications — as long as they have 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 has stalled and Apple has continued its push toward 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 in comparison 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 for generic apps such as 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 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 offered 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.

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Shubham Agarwal
Shubham Agarwal is a freelance technology journalist from Ahmedabad, India. His work has previously appeared in Firstpost…
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