Simple Beacon Proximity Marketing for iPhone, iOS and Apple

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About 90% of the time the first question we get regarding our Simple Beacon Proximity Marketing platform is one of the following:

Does this work with iPhones/iOS/Apple?
Why doesn’t this work with iPhones/iOS/Apple?
When will this work with iPhones/iOS/Apple?

The typical answer that we give is: “Unfortunately, iOS restricts how a Bluetooth Beacon can interact with it. If they ever decide to work similar to an Android device we will make ourselves compatible! We like to think of it as a ‘the glass is 60% full’ sort of situation as current statistics put Android devices at 60% of the US market.” [1]

Proximity Marketing Apple, iPhone, iOS

That is the short answer, here is the long:

The reason we developed Simple Beacon was because of its amazing ability to reach new prospects in the hopes of turning them into new customers. The ability to magically appear on someone’s phone in a polished and non-spammy way was unbelievable the first time we heard about it. As Real Estate Brokers our thought was: Use Beacons to reach new people -> Direct these new people to a landing page where they may provide their contact info -> Connect with them -> Systematically market to them -> Turn them into happy, loyal and lifelong clients! And this is what we did and are doing.

So, how does Apple fit in? For full disclosure, you technically can have a notification pop-up on an iPhone from a Simple Beacon (or any proximity beacon for that matter). BUT, there is a but. This can happen if, and only if, the iPhone user has previously taken some action. These actions include: downloading a specific app, adding a pass to an Apple wallet or taking an even more complicated approach that we won’t dive into here *insert bored yawn*. One of these actions must be done prior to the iPhone being able to receive a notification. This completely defeats the purpose of using a Simple Beacon (or any proximity beacon) to hit a new audience, AKA someone who you have never connected with before. In a sense you would need to say, “Hey random person, that I am connecting with right now, whom I want to connect with, please download my app, then pretend that we never had this conversation, then get my notification, then respond to it so we can connect for the first time.”

At this point, iOS will not allow a Simple Beacon proximity marketing notification to be displayed without one of the aforementioned items. We hope that this changes in the future. The good news is that our Simple Beacons have the iOS’s beacon technology protocol, called iBeacon, already built into them. Therefore, if Apple decides to allow this feature, we will become compatible.

The future:

Regardless of if/when Apple opens up the ability to display app-less Simple Beacon notifications we do realize the massive value in having an app for both iOS and Android that can respond to Beacons. That said… we are working on some stuff… 😉


[1] Apple has lost iOS market share in the US, Europe, and Japan. (n.d.). In Business Insider. Retrieved March 20th, 2018, from