Privacy has been a longstanding issue on iOS, with several third-party apps — highlighted by the Path debacle — accessing personal information from iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users without their explicit permission. That’s all about to change, however, as Apple has introduced new data privacy measures in iOS 6 that require all third-party applications to ask for user permission before accessing personal data from Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Photos and other areas of iOS. Apple details how this change will affect developers in its iOS 6 beta release notes after the break.
For contact, calendar, and reminder data, your app needs to be prepared to be denied access to these items and to adjust its behavior accordingly. If the user has not yet been prompted to allow access, the returned structure is valid but contains no records. If the user has denied access, the app receives a NULL value or no data. If the user grants permission to the app, the system subsequently notifies the app that it needs to reload or revert the data.
Apple already requires developers to request user permission before accessing location data in iOS 5, but it is nice to see the Cupertino-based company placing a greater emphasis on privacy in its mobile operating system. Apple has added new privacy controls to iOS 6 under Settings that allow users to toggle Location Services and view applications that have been granted access to the device’s Contacts, Calendars, Reminders and Photos information. iOS 6 is available now as a beta for registered Apple developers, while a public release is slated for this Fall.