I have an app idea whose core functionality depends on the user’s GPS location. I’d need to ask the user to allow the location service to be ‘always on’ for the app. I’m concerned that this might negatively impact user adoption.

Is enforcing users to share their location data a bad idea?

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Well, it will limit your population to an extent, but if your idea is truly valuable enough that people really want/need it, they’ll let you use their location data.

And if they won’t, it probably isn’t that valuable an idea.

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It depends on what users get out of it - think of automation and reminder apps based on location. If your value proposition resonates with them and you are transparent with how all data is handled it shouldn’t impact adoption.

Do consider markets you’re targeting, privacy concerns and of course popular devices in these markets as battery is normally a concern with these apps.

Good luck!

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That’s a valuable point about the target audience. I’d need to reach out to a sample of potential users to get their feedback. Thank you very much!

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You guys are not being honest. I want you to go through your phone and tell this Author how many apps you have set to “always on” compared to “while using the app.” There is no app that is a necessity in which a user will select “always on” trust me! Your best option is to build is so it can work “while using the app”, then highlight the benefits or additional features the user will get if they select “always on.” If you don’t give users a choice and the only option they have is “always on” you app will die, no matter how valuable it is!

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Citizen, Open Path, PwC Hoteling

I built and sold an app with 25 MAUs that was out when Apple changed the rules. You can get a significant portion to turn on via a series of tactics…IF there is user driven value for having location.

There is data out there on how many still have always on for different apps.

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That’s brilliant! You definitely should not have sold. My co-founder just sold a product for $50 million and they hired him as a VP since it’s a acqui- hire. They had less than 50k monthly users

It depends on the value of the application. If people need it, they will turn it on.

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Some apps need it. Like Uber, grocery delivery, etc. if you could make it an option to only allow when app is in use—all the better, but if not and it provides value, you’ll be fine

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You never know until you test. DM me if you want. I have an app which ranks around the 200 spot in US iOS Top Apps. Happy to share lessons learned.

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Thank you very much. I’ll reach out!

I’d be worried about the legal implications of this—you have to be really careful about disclosures and transparency. Feel free to DM me—I have helped some large tech companies defend products in privacy-based lawsuits—and I may be able to give you a few ideas to start, if that would be helpful!

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Ha depends who is enforcing the law! I was in biglaw in nyc for several years before the Florida AG—didn’t mean to make my advice sound state specific!

You can’t enforce users to share data for starters.

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It will not impact badly
I’d suggest to AB test this to learn about why and what
Version A: ask for location permission straight after download, just after notification permission
Version B: ask in a specific context

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If your value prop is more than the loss of that privacy, yeah its a good idea.

Just be sure about security and don't sell their location data. Build trust and value, people will use it...abuse the trust and maybe you'll get bought out by the slimey multi-nationals

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It depends what I’m getting in return. I do always on for weather apps because I like getting notifications/warnings for my current location. Everything else is a hard no for me, I do like apps running in the background draining my battery or collecting information.

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Could you use this data locally only, without send it to your servers?

I’d need to send the data to the backend to report the user ETA to a particular location.

If it's the core functionality of the app you really have no choice. Only sharing the location when using the app is used is probably the way to go. Like Foodora, Pokemon Go and many others do

Thanks all for the feedback.

Hey - if you’re building a B2C app, message me. I’m interested in local commerce and I noticed you work at Amazon.

Will there be a manuel input option ? I always turn off the location services if don’t need something specific. But i know apps that enforce it to use the app.

You have to give the user the option to turn on only when using the app. The user is given the choice in settings to keep on always or not at all.

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