Apple allows apps to use Push notifications for ad purposes

First of all, in case you've no idea what we're talking about: push notifications are those things that pop up on your phone from time to time without your request, no matter if the app that sent it is closed or if your screen is off. In theory, it's rather useful: it lets apps communicate with users and convey important messages without losing time.

Push notifications can be useful

...in theory. You already know there's absolutely zero chance it won't go horribly wrong. In practice, apps' developers use push notifications for everything. What, you aren't interested in finding out about this new arrival in our sunglasses collection at 3 a.m. on Wednesday? What a strange fellow you are.

There are dozens of services that will send push notifications for you at rather attractive prices (how about $1 for 1 million pushes?). No wonder these notifications are already ubiquitous... and in the latest App Store review guidelines update, Apple explicitly allows apps to bug users with ads in push notifications. This opens an entire new world to advertisers, a wonderful dream world where they can reach you anywhere, at any time, and make money off you. Brace yourselves, winter is coming, and you will learn about it from a push notification.

AdGuard DNS and our other products usually don't block pushes — after all, they can be useful, and often are. But we're already keeping an eye on those apps that abuse this technology too much, and we're going to stop them in their tracks if necessary.

Fortunately, the new API still implies that all developers should ask for your permission before they're able to bombard you with their breathtaking promotional offers. But it's inevitable that at some point you'll give this permission by accident, or bundled with some other permissions. Luckily, there's a way for customers to opt-out from this push marketing.

You'd have to do that individually for each and every app, by entering Settings, proceeding to the desired app and tapping on Notifications. Disable the notifications for that app, go to the next app, rinse, repeat.

How to disable push notifications for an app

In the end, if you use AdGuard DNS, things will stay more or less the same for you: all the ad notifications will be blocked, and the useful ones will be let through. But the initial surge of promotional pushes is likely to leave a bad taste that's going to stay for a while.

Vasily Bagirov på AdGuard DNS Industry News
5 mars 2020
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