iOS 14: Getting ahead of upcoming location permission changes

Carin Chan

Posted by: Carin Chan / June 30, 2020

At WWDC 2020, Apple announced its continued commitment to increase user privacy with the permissions model of Location Services in iOS 14. With this upcoming version, Apple introduces the concept of Precise Location sharing. 

While the introduction of Precise Location may seem radical at first, the additional layer helps brands build trust with customers, as it reduces incorrect usage of location. The incorrect usage seen with some ‘bad’ applications leads to the erosion of customer trust across all applications. When brands engage with their customers in compelling ways and provide context around HOW, WHEN, and WHY they use their location information, customers are more willing to share this information to improve their customer experience derived from providing their location information. 

For brands with Order for Pickup programs, we continue to recommend that asking for location permissions at the right time and providing context is the best way to get customers to grant their location information. 

Introducing Precise Location

The announced changes in iOS 14 builds upon the iOS Location Services permission set in iOS 13. As a reminder, iOS 13 applications receive authorization of a user’s location based on what access the user has granted. The user can choose to share their location at all times even if the application is closed (Always Allow), when they are using the application (Allow While Using App), or they may elect to never share their location. This allowed users to have more personal privacy, while encouraging application developers to only ask for user location if the use case truly warrants it. 

iOS 14 builds on this permissions model with an additional privacy dimension. Instead of simply controlling when an application is allowed to see a user’s location, iOS 14 allows users to select how precisely an application can determine that user’s location. This notion is referred to as “Precise Location.”

As a result, precise location allows users to either share with you their exact location or their general region. Sharing a region or approximate location is useful in applications such as dating apps where users want to keep their precise location private. For other applications that rely on knowing the precise location of a user to do things – like calculate directions or estimate the time of arrival (ETA) for curbside pickup – this represents one of the largest changes to iOS. 

In iOS 14, the location permission window prompt is updated to include the Precise Location option as well as a map with how the location will be shared with the application when the application asks for location permission (See figure below). Users can change permissions in the settings menu for an application at any time.

Building Trust

At Rakuten Ready, we help brands deliver great experiences using ARRIVE. The changes with iOS 14 continue to support our existing recommendation that brands need to build trust with their users by being thoughtful and transparent with location permissions. When the customer trusts a brand, they are willing to share their location, which then lets the brand provide a high quality customer experience.  

Brands can increase trust by asking for permissions at the right time during the ordering flow, as well as by providing rationale around your location permission request. Your customers are willing to share private information – when there is a sound reason – so brands must protect that privacy. Let’s dig into what we mean around timing and rationale, to build trust. 

Ask at the “right” time

When asking a customer to share their location, timing and placement is key. With the location model that Apple has designed, emphasis is placed on asking for location permissions only when it is needed. For instance, asking for location permissions right after the customer installed the application is often too early to ask the user to share their location, and the user’s knee-jerk reaction will be to deny granting such permissions. This is akin to asking, on a first date, what your date’s exact address is; timing is everything.

At Rakuten Ready, we find that brands often fare better asking for location permissions access right before they pick up their order rather than as part of the checkout flow. Consumer behaviors are impacted by the payoff they expect in return when providing access to their location. 

Providing Rationale

Regardless of when permission is asked, customers need rationale around why their location information is needed. In iOS 13, we recommended sharing some context around how the location will be used. For instance, a grocer’s messaging around the location permission prompt should describe that location is being used so grocers can prepare orders based upon when customers are en route, then know exactly what parking spot to bring the curbside order to when the customer arrives. 

With iOS 14, our recommendation continues to hold. However, there now needs to be additional rationale when asking specifically for Precise Location and how it enables your brand to deliver a better experience that provides greater speed, convenience, and safety to consumers. 

We’re here to help

At Rakuten Ready, as the leaders in predictive arrival technology, we focus on delivering a seamless, efficient, and safe customer experience.  Our technology powers contactless orders and payment, optimizes order prep, and accurately predicts when a customer is approaching, alerting employees so they can ensure orders are ready right when the customer arrives. 

Ahead of the iOS 14 release, we’re working with a variety of brands to provide best practices for them in their vertical and use cases to help them prepare for this release. Connect with us to understand how Rakuten Ready can assist your brand with planning and executing superior customer experiences using iOS 14.