Tracker for ArcGIS

Tracker for ArcGIS (iOS) Location Privacy Update

Apple recently added new location privacy features that give you far more control over how often apps can access your location and on September 25th we updated Tracker for ArcGIS (v19.3) to support these new features.

What’s New

With iOS 13, Tracker is no longer allowed to request constant access to your location the first time you open it. Instead, you can pick from three different options: Allow location access while you’re using app, allow once, or don’t allow it at all.

 

Picking Allow Once will give Tracker your location data, but the next time Tracker wants to access your location, you’ll be prompted again. This option is designed to give you a taste of the location features an app provides. Tracker supports this setting, but it’s not ideal, as you will be prompted for sharing permissions each time you want to use the app.

Picking Allow While Using App will give Tracker your location data and let you record and share your location when the app is in use. If the app is closed, the next time you open it, you can flip the switch and start recording again.

You can change the location access permissions for Tracker at any time. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and then tap Tracker to change it. You’ll find that you can set location access to Always. In fact, if you upgraded your device to iOS 13 after installing Tracker, location access will already be set to Always. With continuous access to location, Tracker has the permission to resume tracking if the operating system decides to kill the application to free memory. Depending on how many apps are running and how much free space is on the device, this can be a common occurrence and is the recommended setting – especially where receiving location updates is critical.

In addition to all of the above location permission changes, we squashed a few bugs in the 19.3 release.

What’s Next?

Google introduced new privacy changes with Android Q and we are updating Tracker to better support permission changes when accessing device location in the background. Along with a host of targeted bug fixes, this update should be ready very soon.

We’ll have an update to the Track Viewer web app that includes the ability to switch basemaps.

Later this year, we plan to release location tracking support for ArcGIS Online. We launched a beta program in August, and we already have more than 100 organizations testing with over 2300 users being tracked! Please see this blog article for details.

About the author

Jeff Shaner is a Product Lead with the software dev team at Esri. Delivering GIS tools and apps that enable users to work more productively, safely, and effectively has translated into 23 years of inspired work with the talented dev team at Esri and dedicated ArcGIS users around the world.  In his spare time, Jeff enjoys few things more than a good round of golf or hockey followed by a stop at his favorite craft brewery.

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