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Beware! Apps Asking Bluetooth Permission on iOS 13

Apps on iOS 13 have been asking for Bluetooth permissions. Well, for someone who is a smartphone user, apps asking for certain permissions is not uncommon. But this one is different.

Imagine Dunkin Donuts asking for Bluetooth permission?

It is because the app is using beacons in stores and shopping malls to secretly track your location via Bluetooth

Should I be Concerned?

Of course, you should be. For instance, a retailer has no business knowing your location. Although, beacons such as these can detect Bluetooth chips in phones and learn of your location but with iOS 13, users are now in more control of their privacy.

Apple has become even stricter when it comes to unwarranted tracking by apps and beacons of its customers. Heck, the company has become more transparent when it comes to showing where you have been all this while and which apps were taking note of your location.

As a user, you are in control as to which apps to allow with location permission and which apps shouldn’t be.

The confusion surrounding the Bluetooth prompt

This prompt has led to a fair amount of confusion among users. Why? See, people are starting to believe that a particular app is asking for permission in order to function when that’s not ALWAYS the case. Point being, even if you don’t allow permission to a fitness tracker, Bluetooth headphones and camera apps (you will continue to), for example, play music/ sync photos.

Agreed, there are instances where stores and fast-food restaurants may ask for location permission so as to provide you with in-store promotions, etc. All you have to do is remain vigilant.

What about Chromecast and others

As you may know apps concerning Google’s Chromecast asks for Bluetooth access. But little do people know that Chromecast can be streamed over a “guest mode”, meaning it doesn’t have to know the password to your WiFi network. Apple in iOS 13 has integrated the Bluetooth prompt so know Chromecast can scan for nearby devices without it.

Although, for now, Apple’s Bluetooth prompt is vague. Meaning, it does not specify whether or not the app can function without Bluetooth permission. This leads to a lot of skepticism and guesswork on the users’ part.

In the future, it can be expected that as more and more apps are developed or updated, the Bluetooth prompts will be clearer and explicit.

So is it alarming? It kinda is!

Better to exercise care. Read prompts and check whether the app’s basic function works without granting Bluetooth access on iOS.