The iOS 13 Location Prompt

iOS 13 is introducing some great new privacy features for users

Each annual iOS release heralds a raft of new features and overall improvements. iOS 13 is no different. One of the many highlights of this release is the inclusion of some fantastic measures to enhance user privacy.

With iOS 13 users are provided full transparency of the apps that access their location in the background. Prior to iOS 13 a user could grant an app 'Always' access and have little to no idea of the frequency their location was requested.

Now with iOS 13, after a couple of days of use, a prompt is issued showing an annotated map, detailing an app's background location activity with the frequency of updates.

If you use ETA for Apple Watch and have the required settings you'll be receiving one of these prompts. To ensure ETA for Apple Watch works correctly 'Always' access to your location is required. If you only use ETA on your iPhone then 'When in Use' access is the required setting.

ETA's background update is optimised to ensure we only request your location when absolutely needed (specifically this is when you've significantly changed location and at each hour of the day). Our updates are processed quickly and encompass three core tasks:

  • obtain your new location
  • calculate an updated travel time
  • update the complication on your Apple Watch

The background update is then complete and your location is no longer monitored until the next scheduled update.

Most importantly your location information is never transmitted off your device. ETA does not operate a backend server and all calculations are completed on your iPhone and Apple Watch.

Finally, and some very exciting news, we have a completely rewritten Apple Watch app approaching beta (here's a little sneak peak). It's a native Apple Watch app, independent from its iOS counterpart. Once launched ETA will no longer require 'Always' location access as location updates will be handled directly on the Apple Watch. More on this soon!

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