Apple Will Restrict Facebook Messenger’s PushKit VoIP API on iOS 13 Devices

Apple to stall Facebook Messenger's PushKit VoIP API on its iOS 13 devices over 'suspect' data collection, says media. App Store may run a check on background features running Apps.

Apple will restrict Facebook Messenger’s ‘suspect’ user data-collecting PushKit VoIP API for making internet voice calls on its iOS 13 devices this fall, says 9to5Mac quoting The Information.

Data privacy and data security have been the two of the most critical issues for Apple in recent times to make their products and services, safe and secured. The above strong action implies that it will go to any extent to safeguard its customer’s privacy.

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Apple to Block Facebook Messenger App from using VoIP in the Background

However, when it comes to third-party applications or API, certain ‘extra’ bit of precaution is undertaken to safeguard the interests of its customers. Among them, Facebook and Whatsapp have innocuous-looking internet call PushKit VoIP API, which run in the background.

The report says that this VoIP API of Facebook Messenger may collect personal data of users even when the internet calling feature is not ‘on,’ raising fears of information leak. Apple may now put all such APIs in ‘straitjacket’ by closely monitoring them, sources conveyed.

9to5 states “sources for The Information said that WhatsApp has been using the PushKit VoIP API to handle its end-to-end encryption so it may have the most work to do ahead of iOS 13 launching with the new restriction. Other apps that have been using the internet calling feature may have to redesign their apps as well.”

The report says Apps providers will need to rework on their APIs or else, be ready to face drastic actions such as removal from App Store.

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A Facebook spokesperson in the report has been quoted saying, “The changes to the upcoming iOS releases are not insignificant, but we are in conversations with Apple on how best to address. To be clear—we are using the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a world-class, private messaging experience, not for the purpose of collecting data.”

Joining the debate, former App Store review chief, Phillip Shoemaker told the website that, “Messenger can still use [VoIP background] mode, and does. What they do in the background, whether it be accept calls, listen in all the time or update the content of the main app, it’s all unclear to Apple, but could be happening.”

The report also mentioned that Shoemaker noted “Facebook tried to keep the PushKit API in its main app when the company split off Messenger as a standalone app in 2014. When Apple caught on, it made Facebook remove the API.”

Will Apple Overhaul Its ‘App Store’ for Suspect APIs?

The Information opens the report with this sentence: Apple is taking a swipe at Facebook and other messaging apps by making a small but significant change to its mobile operating system.

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Apple’s next moves to boost data privacy of its users will only come to knowledge as time flies. It may even pull up social media giants like Facebook and Whatsapp for latching ‘suspect’ background apps that compromise its customers’ personal information.

We all will keenly watch how Apple conducts its drive over such Apps featured in their App Store, to remain in circulation.

Have you come across any particular app data mining your information on the sly? If you know of any, thanks in advance for sharing and helping other readers, too.

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Suraj Padmasali
Suraj is a digital marketing expert on the iGB's team. He contributes to the social media section along with tips and tricks for iPhone, Apple Watch. Apart from blogging, he likes to work out as much as he can in his gym and love to listening to retro music.
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