Changes in Permission for Social Apps in iOS 18

Changes in Permission for Social Apps in iOS 18

In the latest iOS 18 update, Apple has implemented changes that affect how social apps can access users' contacts. This new development aims to give users more control over which contacts they share with third-party apps, enhancing privacy and security. Let's delve into the details of these changes and how they impact the user experience.

The Two-Step Permissions Pop-up Screen

One of the key changes introduced in iOS 18 is the new two-step permissions pop-up screen. Previously, when users granted permission for an app to access their contacts, the app would have ongoing access to their entire address book. However, with the updated permissions process, users now have more granular control over which contacts they share with an app.

Stage 1: Allow or Deny Access

The first screen that users encounter when granting permission to access their contacts is similar to the previous prompt. Users can choose to allow or deny access to their contacts at this stage. This initial decision determines whether the app can connect with the user's contacts or not.

Stage 2: Select Contacts

If the user permits access to their contacts on the first screen, they are then presented with a second screen in iOS 18. Here, users can specify which contacts they want to share with the app. They have the option to either grant full access to all contacts or selectively choose specific contacts to share.

Impact on Social Apps

These changes have significant implications for social apps that rely on accessing users' address books to grow their networks. In the past, some apps employed tactics like forcing users to invite friends to join or demanding full access to the address book as a growth hack. While these strategies may have initially boosted user adoption, they often lacked sustainable long-term growth.

With the new permission structure in iOS 18, users have more autonomy in deciding which contacts they share with social apps. This serves as a safeguard against apps that continuously request access to the address book, even after being denied initially. The updated permissions process empowers users to grant limited access to specific contacts, maintaining better control over their data.

Developer Implementation

One noteworthy aspect of the iOS 18 changes is that app developers do not need to make any modifications to their apps to integrate the new permission screens. If an app requests access to contacts, the updated permissions interface will automatically be presented to users.

On X, developer Nikita Bier, known for creating growth-hacked social apps like Gas and tbh, humorously commented on the impact of these changes. While some may view it as the "end of the world" for certain app practices, others appreciate the enhanced security and privacy measures introduced by Apple.

Users' Reactions and Feedback

The response to the updated permissions for social apps in iOS 18 has been mixed. Security experts and privacy advocates have welcomed the changes, recognizing them as a step towards curbing data harvesting practices by certain apps. Users have expressed relief at being able to limit which contacts they share with apps, preventing unnecessary access to their entire address book.

For individuals concerned about privacy, the ability to grant limited contact access to apps is a welcome feature. Users have shared positive experiences of being able to provide restricted access to contacts, ensuring their data remains protected while still engaging with social apps.

Simplified Access for Contact Searching

In addition to the revamped permissions process, iOS 18 streamlines the contact search functionality for apps. Developers no longer need to request full access to contacts when allowing users to search for and add contacts within the app.

The Contact Access Button enables apps to display search results for contacts that the app does not have full access to. Users can then select individual contacts they wish to add to the app with a simple tap, facilitating a more controlled and user-friendly experience.

By enhancing the permissions process and refining contact access functionalities, iOS 18 offers a more secure and transparent environment for users interacting with social apps. The focus on empowering users to make informed decisions about their data sharing emphasizes Apple's commitment to user privacy and security.

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