Apple, long accused of bending its own rules, is apparently relenting and changing its iOS policy in a way that will make iPhones more like Android phones.
In a March 4 update (opens in new tab) to its App Store Review Guidelines, the company adjusted language concerning push notifications, so that apps can use Push Notifications for "promotions or direct marketing purposes," which was once verboten in iOS. Unless you were Apple, which promoted its own Carpool Karaoke show via push notifications.
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Our own staffers have noted that these app push notification ads have happened on Android for years. On the official Android developer site, a page titled "Drive user engagement and extend your app's visibility with notifications" is filed under Engage, Design, and Marketing.
The only caveats are that customers must have "explicitly opted in" to these notifications, and that the app provides "a method ... for a user to opt out from receiving such messages."
Apple's existing rule has been bent by developers for a while. As I wrote this story, I noticed my lock screen had yet another coupon code from the Postmates food delivery app. This change only suggests the ads in your lock screen will only multiply over the coming months.
And, yes, Apple has that language about opting into those push notifications, but I'm not sure how well that will work. People tend to just keep tapping OK as they install new apps, which is how you get the existing notifications you don't like, as well as other privacy-bending features disabled.