Our smartphones are a great source for gathering data by the hundreds of folks and firms on the Internet, who eventually sell them to earn profits. Both Androids and iPhones are notorious for diminishing our privacy in daily lives but it seems Google and Apple are now deciding against it. Based on reports, these two mobile ecosystem creators now want the X-Mode location tracking code gone from apps on their app stores within two weeks. Also Read - Google relaunches offline Calendar support for desktop users; how to use
According to a report from WSJ, Apple and Google are now reportedly asking app developers to remove the X-Mode location tracking system from their apps. Google is giving developers a week’s time, with an option to extend the removal period for up to 30-days. Apple, on the other hand, is giving up to two weeks for developers to remove the code from their apps. Failure to do so will result in either of these regulators removing apps from their respective stores. Also Read - Android 12 could come with a new mode that restricts networking features: Report
Apple, Google taking a stand against location tracking tech
Neither of these companies has listed reasons behind this directive but for consumers, it is certainly a tiny step towards ensuring improved privacy. The X-Mode code is essentially an SDK that is added to apps in order to collect location data. This data is then shared with X-Mode for further commercial purposes while the developers are paid some amount for the data in return. Also Read - Apple iPhone best photos: Indian photographer features in the top picks
X-Mode itself says that its technology is employed by almost 400 apps. The company says that its code collects similar mobile app data as most advertising SDKs. Moreover, these SDKs still require users’ permissions to collect location data on both iOS and Android. Hence, if the user decides not to grant an app the permission to get location data, the tech is useless.
Hence, while setting up a new phone, or downloading a new app, if you think it asks for permissions for activities that aren’t relevant to the app’s core function, you should avoid giving them so if privacy is your concern. Apple in its latest iOS 14 release has given more granular control over how an app can get your location. For example, for an app that needs your location, you can either deny the access, or choose between pinpoint accuracy and a fair estimate of your actual location.
In this case, it remains to be seen what apps have to omit the X-Mode code in order to stay available on the app stores.