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3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Asking Users For Mobile App Permissions

Hi, and welcome to this week's episode on Pulsate Academy. My name is Finóla and I’m from the Customer Success Team here at Pulsate. This week, we’re going to look at how you can ask your users for permission to access various aspects of their device in order to enhance their experience within your app. So let’s get into it…



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@PulsateHQ [WATCH] 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Asking For Mobile App Permissions



Firstly, what are permissions? Permissions are when an app asks for access to a particular area on your device such as your camera, contacts, location, to accept push notifications and more. There are a few ways of asking for permission, but how you ask for it is critical to the percentage of opt-in rates you receive.

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iOS Users

For iOS users, apps can often bombard you with a string of requests asking for access to different areas.However, on Android, you cannot download an app from the Google Play Store without opting in to the list of permissions presented to you at the time of download, although this is changing with Android Marshmallow 6.0. We’re going to take a look at how some apps ask for permission on iOS and when is the optimum time to request access in order to increase the opt-in rate for that permission.

The blitz approach looks at firing a string of system permissions at the user when they first download the app. This approach isn’t recommended as you are a) not asking nicely or b) not telling the user why you want them to give you accept.

The explanation method tells the user why they should give access and can be done in two ways:

1.) To look like Apple’s own system permissions (known as native permission priming) but gives the explanation as to why they should accept.

2.) Design this screen with the theme of your own app to explain why you are asking, and then offer Apple’s system permissions screen. Statistics show that this method increased opt-in rates from 40% (generic Apple system permissions screen) to almost 70% when given an explanation.

Although this is an improvement, if your app requires access to a particular area on a user's device in order to function and the user doesn’t give permission, the app can be deemed useless. So let’s say you are a navigation app and the user doesn’t give you permission to access location, the app can then be useless for the user but you only get once chance to ask for permission without the user having to navigate their way around the settings page at a later date to turn permissions on.

The best approach is to ask only when needed. An app that does this very well through their onboarding sequence is Peach, which we looked at last week. They tell you to ‘Post a photo’ and when you go to do so you are asked to give access to your camera. Or when they tell you to ‘Assemble Your Squad’ and add some friends they then ask for access to your contacts. Another approach to this method would be to ask only when the feature is needed, so if a user is exploring your app on during their e.g third use of it and they want to post a photo, you can then ask for permission to access their camera.

How you ask your users to opt-in to push notifications is really important and will determine the overall percentage of users who accept, so writing the copy for this needs consideration. Take a look at how Peach ask you to opt in for Push Notifications before you are presented with the Apple native prompt.

Android Users

Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) introduced a run time permission model which allows you to control when to ask for permission/access to a certain area/functionality on the user's device. Just like best practices in iOS, the time and how you ask for this permission is key. As the purpose of a permission is to protect your users privacy, it is best to let them know what benefit they will receive by allowing you access. Here is an example of the explainer screen that Twitter use when asking for location permissions for Android 6.0.

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