iOS 12 brings four new emoji, Memojis, screen time, Do Not Disturb (DND) scheduling, and Photo Sharing. One iOS 12 feature flying under the radar is spam protection with third-party app extensions. Apple is now making this feature friendly to third-party developers. It is baking third-party integration into the upcoming operating system update.
Why is Apple changing its mind about third-party apps in iOS 12?
Up until iOS 12, you couldn’t report spam calls by way of Apple’s own phone app. Sure, you could report bad iMessages and even use third-party apps such as Truecaller in iOS 10 (not baked in but as a downloadable add-on), but nothing more. Apple’s turnaround decision for spam protection comes out of its battle with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), India’s communications authority. India’s complaint in 2016 with its own third-party spam call reporting app is that Apple wouldn’t allow iPhones to report spam calls with the TRAI’s app.
The new spam protection in iOS 12 does not fulfill the TRAI’s entire request, but it allows users to fight against unwanted spam. That’s Apple’s pleasant compromise and commitment to protection and privacy all in one.
Spam call/reporting is necessary in India
India encouraged Apple to approve third-party apps for spam call reporting, but Apple resisted to maintain its privacy policies. The new spam call/message reporting functionality meets a true need in India. There, mobile users receive anywhere from five to ten spam calls/messages each day. Android has had spam protection for nearly two years now, so it’s high time Apple makes this move.
How iOS 12 spam call/message reporting works
iOS 12 will allow iPhone users to report calls and SMS messages. The phone app will launch an Unwanted Communication extension. This extension gathers information from users and then decides whether to report or block a given contact/number. Blocked Contacts are accessible in the Settings app.
What iOS 12 users must do
While Apple is working with developers to add spam call and message reporting, users must enable an “Unwanted Communication” extension in the Settings app. Only one extension can be enabled at a time.
Apple’s openness to third-party development: the start of a good trend
Apple’s openness to third-party app development for iOS isn’t just for spam protection. The new system update will also bring Google Maps and Waze integration to Apple CarPlay. The fruit company’s tvOS 12 update allows users to control their Apple TV through Home Control Systems such as Control4 and others.
Apple prefers a closed operating system. The new spam protection in iOS 12 highlights one benefit of third-party apps and extensions in any mobile operating system. If a company must choose between protection and a closed-source system, protection should win the day.