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Spam Reporting on iOS 12 Could Gives Apple a Chance to Make Peace with TRAI

Apple has been at a crossroads with the Indian telecom regulator TRAI, having refused to add its DND app on the App Store. The app has been said to violate the company’s App Store guidelines before. However, it seems that may now change, with a new feature on iOS 12 announced at WWDC 2018. The update will allow developers, including TRAI, to create an extension that lets users report spam from within the iPhone call logs user interface.

“To report SMS messages and calls, the user must enable an unwanted communication extension in the Settings app. They can only enable one unwanted communication extension at a time,” states Apple on the iOS 12 developer page.

“In order to report calls, the user swipes left on an item in the Recents list and selects report. For SMS messages, they press the report messages button when it appears in the Messages transcript. Users can also select messages by long-pressing a message and selecting additional messages, then selecting report messages,” adds the Apple documentation.

Extensions are small applets that Apple allows developers to use to augment the functionality of a core iOS feature. These extensions are also used by developers to extend functionalities of their apps to restricted parts of iOS, where Apple doesn’t yield full access to the app.

MediaNama reached out to TRAI chairman RS Sharma who said, “We will need to verify whether the update enables the functional requirements or not. I have asked our people to find out.”

Apple’s iOS operating system has more stringent privacy requirements than Android. TRAI, for long, has struggled to develop an app with Apple’s guidelines, since it wanted complete access to the user’s SMS and call logs, which was a violation of the rules.

TRAI’s DND app was released on Android back in June 2016, and two years on there still isn’t an iOS equivalent. That being said, iOS, which powers iPhones only, accounts for 3 percent of the phones in India.

While Apple has been backchanneling with the Indian government for this issue, which even included its Senior Director for privacy, Jane Horvath getting involved in the discussions, things haven’t moved. In fact, relations between TRAI and Apple deteriorated in November and RS Sharma, TRAI’s chairman, even threatened legal action earlier.

Apple’s latest operating system was announced only six days ago at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, and is currently available in developer preview format. For developers who have a $99 per year account to access pre-release software can access the operating system that can be downloaded on iPhones and iPads, ranging back to 2013 (iPhone 5s and iPad Mini 2). Later in June, Apple will release a free public beta of the same, where normal consumers will be able to download a more stable and complete version of the software.

The official public build of iOS 12 is expected around September, which is when the company usually announces a bunch of new hardware, including new iPhones, iPads and even MacBooks. – PC Mag

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