Thanks to the new privacy changes and improvements in iOS 14, many popular iPhone apps have been caught unnecessarily reading clipboard data. Now, many iPhone users running iOS 14 beta on their iPhone have found the Instagram app to access the camera on their device when not needed.
Whenever apps access the camera on iPhones in iOS 14, a green dot will show up in the status bar as a way to let users know about it. Many users found the green icon showing up in the status bar of their iPhone while simply browsing through their Instagram feed — a task for which the app does not need to access the camera.
Casually browsing Instagram when suddenly the new iOS 14 camera/microphone indicator comes on. Then control panel ratted out the app behind it. This is going to change things. #iOS14 pic.twitter.com/EnTIRsqq3R
— KevDoy (@KevDoy) July 17, 2020
After being caught, Instagram issued a statement to The Verge claiming that it was a bug with their app and that its app does not access the camera in such situations.
“We only access your camera when you tell us to — for example, when you swipe from Feed to Camera. We found and are fixing a bug in iOS 14 Beta that mistakenly indicates that some people are using the camera when they aren’t,” the spokesperson said. “We do not access your camera in those instances, and no content is recorded.”
This is not the first time that a popular app, when caught doing shady stuff, claimed that it was a bug in their code. Previously, the LinkedIn app was also found to be reading clipboard data without any reason which the company was quick to chalk down to a bug. Similarly, TikTok — which is already under intense scrutiny for its close ties with China — was found reading users’ clipboard data in iOS 14 despite the company promising to fix this issue back in February itself. Even the official Reddit app was also caught doing the same thing.
At this point, I can’t help but feel that these companies are simply trying to hide their shady behavior by telling us that there was a bug in their app. Thankfully, these small privacy-focused changes made by Apple in iOS 14 are going to have a notable impact as app developers be forced to mend their ways.
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