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Thank you all for an amazing response to last week's comment. This is clearly a subject people are very passionate about! I closed the survey on Wednesday with 1,360 responses - thanks to you all for your time.

So without further ado, I know what you're waiting for... Here are the results, along with my comments on them.

After I sent last week's email, I realised I never explicitly stated my opinion on when screen recording is completely fine, so let me do that now. It basically boils down to how explicit and obvious the consent is. It needs to be much more than a line in the privacy policy, or an opt-in for analytics prompt. I believe you need to ask the user, in clear language for their permission to "record their screen and keystrokes". You also need to respect their choice to say no.

So with that in mind, my opinion on user testing tools like Lookback that make the start of the recording really obvious is that they are absolutely fine. There is no way you could have your screen recorded with tools like these and not be aware of it. The same goes for bug reporting frameworks that allow you to capture a screenshot/video of the bug, for example Instabug (who are a regular sponsor). In my opinion those are all completely different than the analytics tools I was ranting against last week. I also think tools like these should be the reason that screen recording isn't blanket banned across the App Store.

I also had lots of email on the subject, so (with permission) am going to (anonymously) quote a few people here:

What I found was that we rarely viewed the recordings except when a problem was reported… maybe once every 2-3 months.

This was a common theme in the emails. Generally, people use and act on "regular" aggregated analytics but that doesn't seem to be the case with screen recording analytics.

Late on Friday night we received an email from Apple saying that our current app in the store was in violation of guidelines by using a “screen recorder” and that we had 24 hours to submit a new build with “screen recording” software removed or our app would be removed from App Store.

I got a lot of emails like this too, Apple analysed apps for these frameworks and if you were using one you probably also got an email late on Friday night (US time) saying you had 24 hours to remove it.

I asked our head of product if it would be bad for our customers to know what we track and they said yes. So I asked why we took that risk by including it? They said we needed the data, though I didn't see any use of it beyond one KPI. I asked if it was OK to discuss it at conferences and with the community, they said it wasn't.

This sums up the topic perfectly for me. If this is how you feel about your analytics, you know it's wrong. I'll leave this subject for now, but I don't think we've heard the last on it yet though!

Dave Verwer

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