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Enhanced iOS 6 Geofencing with Find my Friends and 3rd Party Apps

With Apple’s announcement of all of the great new features in iOS 6, there’s a newfound potential for even more pervasive Geofencing functionality.

Previously, I wrote about how to set up geofencing in iOS 5 – and mentioned that it integrates seamlessly into both calendar and tasks. Now, there seems to be a few hints that this functionality will be further extended to 3rd party applications.

iOS 6’s information sharing and social media capabilities are significantly extended – full Facebook integration, Twitter integration, and new API’s allowing access to user data. With this enhanced sharing, Apple is under increased pressure to protect users data. So, they’ve increased the number of explicit confirmations a user must go through to allow applications access to data. One of these authorizations is access to Reminders – which is basically the front-end for geofencing integration.

Extended privacy controls in iOS 6

Today, Apple rumor site Macrumors reported on the enhanced user permissions, and noted that the developer beta of iOS6 has in its release notes:

In addition to location data, the system now asks the user’s permission before allowing third-party apps to access certain user data, including:

– Contacts
– Calendars
– Reminders
– Photo Library

For contact, calendar, and reminder data, your app needs to be prepared to be denied access to these items and to adjust its behavior accordingly. If the user has not yet been prompted to allow access, the returned structure is valid but contains no records. If the user has denied access, the app receives a NULL value or no data. If the user grants permission to the app, the system subsequently notifies the app that it needs to reload or revert the data.

So, does the fact that Apple is requiring permission to access Reminders data signify that soon 3rd party apps will be able to use the background geofencing service built into Reminders?

Also of note, MacWorld reports that soon the “Find my Friends” app will be updated with Geofencing alerts – which I bet uses the same system geofencing service as Reminders. From MacWorld:

According to Apple’s iOS 6 website, the company’s Find My Friends app is set to add a new geofencing notification system with iOS 6. This will let you set up an alert for any of your Find My Friends contacts; when they leave or arrive at a given location, you’ll receive an alert or banner notification.

Also related, see Apple’s iOS 6 Website

Find My Friends is a great way to share locations with friends and family.8 Those who share their locations with you appear on a map so you can quickly see where they are and what they’re up to. And with iOS 6, you can get location-based alerts — like when your kids leave school or arrive home. Find My Friends can also notify others about your location, so you can stay connected or keep track of the ones you love.

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