iOS 8 puts app shortcuts on the Lock screen based on your location

By , Jun 3, 2014

iOS 8 (Vons app on Lock screen)

Another handy improvement we’ve discovered in iOS 8 deals with location tracking improvements.

Apparently, Apple’s upcoming mobile operating system puts an app icon right on the Lock screen whenever in a vicinity of a location that has a corresponding app in the App Store. Just walk up to a nearby Apple Store and an app icon appears on the Lock screen. Same for places like Tesco and Vons.

“When Location Services is turned on, the device’s current location is used to recommend relevant apps on the lock screen,” as per iOS 8 release notes. Again, you don’t even need to have the app installed on your device. It’s important to note that this feature is unrelated to iBeacons, here are full details…

According to Reddit (via @Praveen on Twitter), a poster has noticed a banking app shortcut appearing on his Lock screen right after walking inside his bank. Swiping it up took him right to the app.

Likewise, you could be walking up to a nearby Apple Store and immediately notice the Apple Store app icon automatically appearing in the lower left corner of your iPhone’s Lock screen.

In fact, that’s exactly what iDownloadBlog editor Sebastien Page has just done. You can clearly see the Apple Store icon in the lower left corner of his Lock screen.

iOS 8 (iBeacons 003)

Although several commenters in a Reddit threat speculated it’s iBeacon-related, that’s not really the case – Sebastien has confirmed it’s tied to your device’s location.

Also, it doesn’t need cellular data access. “My iPhone 5 SIM card is invalid and the phone was not connected to Internet,” he tells me.

Here’s a video Seb captured at his local Apple Store.

Now, the Apple Store Seb visited does have iBeacons deployed, but the Vons location he went to does not – yet the Vons app icon popped up on his Lock screen.

“I downloaded the Vons app and didn’t even launch it but it still showed the Vons app icon on the Lock screen,” Seb told me. “So it knows I’m close to Vons and knows I have the app installed.”

Oddly enough, the current implementation doesn’t ask for your location or shows the location icon in the iOS status bar. He tested the feature with Starbucks locations, too, and guess what? The Starbucks app icon automagically appeared on his iPhone’s Lock screen.

iOS 8 (Starbucks app on Lock screen)

So, although though Sebastien’s iPhone wasn’t connected to any network at all, it was still able to determine his location through GPS.

Given that Silicon Valley giants, Apple and Google in particular, have been mapping points of interests for years, iOS 8 can sense when you’re nearby restaurants, gas stations, banks and similar locations.

Another example involves the Tesco app appearing on the Lockscreen when pulling up to a Tesco location, as evidenced in the below video courtesy of our reader Chris Smalley.

It’s not just shopping places: one guy noticed an app shortcut for a train station.

Furthermore, this apparently extends to apps that are not installed on your device. This Twitter user, for example, confirmed a Costco app icon showing up on his Lock screen even though he did not have the Costco app installed at the time.

Pulling up the icon handle took him straight to the App Store to download the app. Another curiosity: when launched from the Lock screen, the App Store only shows the relevant app and not any of the other apps available.

Interestingly enough, there’s a new control related to App Store location tracking in iOS 8 Privacy settings. As you can see below, you can now tell the App Store to track you even when it’s running in the background.

iOS 8 (Settings, Privacy, App Store)
Screenshot via MacRumors forums.

Just don’t confuse this location-based app shortcuts on the Lock screen with Continuity.

Continuity is a new iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite feature which uses Bluetooth to detect presence and allow nearby devices to work together.

For example, you could start typing an email or SMS message on your iPhone and continue right where you left off on a Mac. Additionally, it makes possible accepting and making phone calls on your Mac through your iPhone and more.

That being said, while icons for apps related to your location do appear in the bottom left just like Continuity, it has nothing to do with Continuity. I’ll make sure to keep you updated as we learn more about this newly discovered location awareness in iOS 8.

Anyways, I want to hear what you think of this feature and if you plan on using it.

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  • Mini Apple Genius

    So does this work with a Wi-Fi only iPad?

    • Probably not since Wi-Fi only devices don’t have GPS chips.

      • Andrew Roth

        Works with my iPod Touch.

      • Mini Apple Genius

        Is in connect to the internet when you do it?

      • jack

        doesn’t have GPS but have location through wi-fi data

  • mohd h sh

    Some body plz register my udid i stuck on iOS 8
    FFFFFFFF6053EDEEE4B747BCB8C496962C97429D

    • Ethan Humphrey

      that is a false udid, use iTunes to find it, any udid that starts with FFFFFFFF is false

      • mohd h sh

        C3463EC83899559856D923CA8191C910E1B71B70

      • Ethan Humphrey

        Contact this person in order to register, you have to pay $8 or more but you can pay through palpal or iTunes:
        seppiak@yahoo.com

      • Tahir Ahmetovic

        your udid is registered sir 🙂

      • Ethan Humphrey

        can you register mine? a772c6fb218f7a1f98c84e5a5b95ba614826afff

      • Tahir Ahmetovic

        Done 🙂

      • MrBoobko

        can you please register mine too ?

        245f004ff1e8d817b9f0ecdb9bcb8ae5d0f26c3c

        thanks !

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      • dookerj

        Look at you idiots giving away your private device uids to an anonymous person promising to give you something for free. Morons! Have fun getting hacked (though they probably aren’t that smart… Probably scammed at best)

      • Venkatesh Ramasamy

        Kidding?

      • Ethan Humphrey

        thank you so much, I got ripped off and i was stuck at the activation screen can’t believe you would pay 5 dollars for me!

      • Lucus Bendzsa

        @Tahir Ahmetovic

        Hey I imagine that you only have so many, but I would really like mine registered. I am a beta tester Apple fan that would love to try to find some less obvious bugs throughout the beta and use bug reporter to report them.

        2f5b9e4614cbca21b49d3386885db88afbaff42a

      • Benchmark Apps

        Please register mine, someone. 🙁 I don’t have Paypal or card. 🙁
        5c474cc1acd00e5698312c8f7526c571f3e6c24d

        Don’t reply hate in this. :/

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      • Ron Tal

        Please I don’t have a credit card!
        200e70cfed0329a2ab3ba397dddcd2cec378b85f

      • Vighnesh Manick

        If you have any more room a UDID registration is greatly appreciated. If you do it, thanks. Other wise, well, thanks for trying.
        285cbdc61fadca7a0b9cd18d86c5483217e0f6be

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      • DogeCoin

        Welp why not, d62d685b49bc6496392af6d66c590b9c1ef0a351 ,You probably don’t have any left, but it can’t hurt to ask.

      • Emmanuel Ravalo

        please registed my udid if you have a spare slot thank you so much 🙂 well appriciated

        4d2f74bb3893af2e2f6ba35c47bf4eab63a274e9

      • Lucus Bendzsa

        If someone registers mine I will pay a 3.84 amazon card

      • FREE DEVELOPER ACCOUNT UDID REGISTRATION!
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        EMAIL : sureshappledeveloper@gmail.com
        100% SECURE!

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  • Brian 

    I cant not stress this enough, with all these [awesome] features that Apple is adding, I hope they are planning a MAJOR improvement to the iPhone 6 battery life. Because a lot of these cool features will require your Bluetooth/Wifi/Location to be always turned on if you want it to “just work”.

    • Damian

      Larger phone larger battery capacity?

      • Brian 

        At the same thickness as the current iPhone, yes most definitely. But rumors point to a much slimmer design.

    • :)

      I’m worried about that too, but casual users have those enabled by default. And they live.

  • Markus Hudobnik

    In beta 1, it has been a major battery drainage for me.

    • Andrew Roth

      As is to be expected. Mine lasted literally thirty minutes though.

    • Jeremy

      Really? I haven’t had much battery drain and I’ve been using my 5s normally just as I was on 7.0.6
      Occasional warming but not much battery drain for me.

  • Andrew Roth

    When I arrive at school it shows my school app. Really cool.

  • Agru

    First thing I’ll do: settings, privacy, location, system services, disable this shitty spamming ad

    • Andrew Roth

      It’s not an ad…

      • Agru

        Basically it is. Everything that suggests me to download something i’m not asking for is an ad.

      • omghilly

        Either you didn’t read, or you’re incapable of doing so. But this clearly states that the app shortcuts which popped up were to apps already downloaded to the user’s phone. It’s not advertisement; it’s “smart” interface.

      • Agru

        Either you are on your period, or you are just very rude. Anyway, since I can read while you clearly can’t: “Furthermore, this apparently extends to apps that are not installed on your device. This Twitter user, for example, confirmed a Costco app icon showing up on his Lock screen even though he did not have the Costco app installed at the time.”
        And i’m waiting for your apology 🙂

      • omghilly

        OH BOY. I definitely skimmed over that paragraph, and duly apologize 😛

      • Agru

        No prob mate. Anyway i’m interested in your opinion now, am i really the only one who sees this as an iAd?!?

      • omghilly

        It’s annoying to say the least. Also, there’s a bug in the beta in which location services can’t be disabled for App Store (despite toggling the switch to off).

      • Agru

        It has to be fixed!

      • Andrew Roth

        No business is going to charge money for their app, first of all. Second, the feature currently cant disabled. I’m on the beta and just checked.

      • Agru

        I’m not saying this. Candy crush is a free app too, but you can make purchases in it. Vons and Costco apps aren’t for charity, are they? It’s advertisement for these companies, how can you deny it?
        And the fact that you can’t disable it.. Thanks for telling me anyway 🙂

  • O_o

    America has Tesco? This is a shocking revelation.

  • mohd h sh

    some body plz register my udid

    C3463EC83899559856D923CA8191C910E1B71B70

    • Kenrick Fernandes

      hey buddy i just did 🙂 enjoy your early christmas gift

      • mohd h sh

        sir still say activation error

      • Emmanuel Ravalo

        can you register mine too…
        please registed my udid if you have a spare slot thank you so much 🙂 well appriciated

        4d2f74bb3893af2e2f6ba35c47bf4eab63a274e9

      • FREE DEVELOPER ACCOUNT UDID REGISTRATION!
        (150 FREE SPACE)
        EMAIL : sureshappledeveloper@gmail.com
        100% SECURE!

    • FREE DEVELOPER ACCOUNT UDID REGISTRATION!
      (150 FREE SPACE)
      EMAIL : sureshappledeveloper@gmail.com
      100% SECURE! #UDID #IPHONE

  • Yawwwn

    iOS 8 bring nothing special and now it has ads on your lockscreen. WOW GREAT JOB!

  • Ahmed Karoui

    They should’ve gived us the ability to choose which app shortcut to put on the lockscreen instead of this!

  • Kristoffer

    Imagine if it worked with “frequent locations” and “near me”.
    It would suggest what app you want to use based on where you are and what other visititors have used.
    As an option of course…

  • X1

    Nope still wrong. I’ll be sticking with Jellylock.

  • Ethan Humphrey

    on a side note, where is the bug reporter on iPads?

  • asdfasdf

    looks like this works only in the US.
    In germany this and spotlight search won’t work..

  • Roger

    So this is why Today while at work I had the Wells Fargo App all day in my left corner 🙂 lol

  • MrJohnBlaze

    i can add 99 udid’s 6 dollars each

  • Diego Milano

    Hopefully this can be disabled.

  • Tom

    The problem is that AppStore always uses location services in iOS 8.

  • J™

    it also means that your every movement is being tracked

  • FoneSoneDone

    I keep getting this on the multi task switcher menu. far left of the menu. This app uses locations to show it on lock screen.

  • hkgsulphate

    my iPhone will definitely put the “Find my Friends” app on the lock screen all the time…

  • FREE DEVELOPER ACCOUNT UDID REGISTRATION!
    (150 FREE SPACE)
    100% SECURE! #UDID #IPHONE #WWDC14 #WWDC

    EMAIL : sureshappledeveloper@gmail.com

  • FREE DEVELOPER ACCOUNT UDID REGISTRATION!
    (150 FREE SPACE)
    EMAIL : sureshappledeveloper@gmail.com
    100% SECURE! #IPHONE #WWDC14 #WWDC

  • FREE DEVELOPER ACCOUNT UDID REGISTRATION!
    (150 FREE SPACE)
    EMAIL : sureshappledeveloper@gmail.com
    100% SECURE! #UDID #WWDC14 #WWDC

  • FREE DEVELOPER ACCOUNT UDID REGISTRATION!
    (150 FREE SPACE)
    EMAIL : sureshappledeveloper@gmail.com

  • FREE DEVELOPER ACCOUNT UDID REGISTRATION!
    (150 FREE SPACE)
    EMAIL : sureshappledeveloper@gmail.com
    100% SECURE

  • Joseph T Weber

    My college app as well

  • Natalie Rose Euley

    This happens with Canvas, my college’s online software/app, when I am on campus! I was wondering what was causing it.