Apple now allows ads in push notifications on iPhone and iPad

Red Apple store logo

Push notifications could be about to become rather more irritating for iPhone and iPad users. Apple has updated its App Store Review Guidelines, giving developers permission to use push notifications for advertising purposes.

There is something of a silver lining to this dark cloud, however. App-makers are not being given carte blanche to bombard people with an endless stream of ads; Apple says ads are only permitted when "customers have explicitly opted in to receive them". Nonetheless, it marks a major policy change for Apple.

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The shift in stance was spotted by 9to5Mac, and a number of other notable changes were seen in the guidelines. As of April 30, 2020, all new apps and app updates must use the iOS 13 SDK. From the same date, the Sign In with Apple must be implemented by developers. Apple is also cracking down on apps which are trying to muscle in on already-crowded categories.

The company warns developers:

Don't create multiple Bundle IDs of the same app. If your app has different versions for specific locations, sports teams, universities, etc., consider submitting a single app and provide the variations using in-app purchase. Also avoid piling on to a category that is already saturated; the App Store has enough fart, burp, flashlight, fortune telling, dating, and Kama Sutra apps, etc. already. We will reject these apps unless they provide a unique, high-quality experience. Spamming the store may lead to your removal from the Developer Program.

But it is the prospect of push ads that will be of interest to most people.

The key clause in Apple's updated App Store Review Guidelines is 4.5.4, which reads:

Push Notifications must not be required for the app to function, and should not be used to send sensitive personal or confidential information. Push Notifications should not be used for promotions or direct marketing purposes unless customers have explicitly opted in to receive them via consent language displayed in your app's UI, and you provide a method in your app for a user to opt out from receiving such messages. Abuse of these services may result in revocation of your privileges.

Image credit: Roman Tiraspolsky / Shutterstock

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