Can I have access to all of your photos?

How to and how not to ask for permissions on iOS

Can I have access to all of your photos?

... please? 👀

What would you say if a stranger asks you if he could see all of your photos on your phone? Or your contacts? Probably "No!", right?

That's basically the same as giving an unknown app permissions to your photo library. While developing fastbackward I had to also come up with a good approach to actually convince the user to give me full access to all of his photos:

The first image shows the worst case on how you can ask for permissions. The request pops right in your face on app launch and doesn't explain why it needs access.

The second image shows my approach on how to handle the permission request in fastbackward. I will show a blocking view which tells the user what is going to happen and why. The permission request will only show on tap of the "Request permissions" button.

Handling of all possible permission scenarios

To be honest, if I'm trying out a new app I always check the way the developer implemented fallbacks in case the user declined permissions. It's very interesting how many apps don't handle those states correctly because this all should be covered:

  • User grants permission (happy path 🚀)  
  • User declines permisson
  • User grants permission in the first place, changed his mind and disables it via Settings app

If permissions have been declined once, you can't even ask again. iOS won't show that popup a second time. You have to also handle that case and guide the user to the Settings App where it's possible to manually enable the permissions again.