Have you updated your iPhone to iOS 13? You will have probably noticed that several of your apps are now requesting access to your Bluetooth. The Bluetooth connection is like the other sensitive data on your phone. There is now a permission that an app must receive, similar to GPS app wanting access to your location. Before iOS 13, an app could access your Bluetooth as long as your Bluetooth feature was switched on.

Why Did Apple Start Requiring Permission?

Apple has taken several steps to help maintain its user’s privacy with its latest software. Bluetooth does more than connect to external devices like headsets or speakers. Public places like Mayfaire or the mall can set up Bluetooth tracking beacons that will connect to your phone and determine what stores you are at. This information could then be used to send you targeted ads or deals from that location.

Craig Federighi stated at Apple’s WWDC that Apple would be closing the door on this type of abuse. Apple picked up on the growing privacy concerns and is taking steps to prevent unauthorized intrusions.

Why Do My Apps Need Bluetooth?

Apps do not need your location for only marketing purposes. For example, some retailers will use Bluetooth beacons in their stores, to help direct you to certain products within their stores. Fitness trackers will also use the connection to link to its exercise trackers. Some developers will explain why the app needs this permission when it prompts you for access.

Allow Or Deny Access?

This decision is entirely up to you and what you are comfortable with. It should be noted that if you decline access to Bluetooth, certain features or the app entirely will not work. If you decline but change your mind at a later point, you can go into the app’s settings to change the permissions.

Enable/ Disable Bluetooth

To modify an app’s Bluetooth permissions, open up the Settings app > Privacy > Bluetooth. All of the apps installed on your device that uses Bluetooth are here. From here, you can toggle the Bluetooth connection on and off for individual apps.

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