Instagram and 50 other apps found that quietly access iOS device’s camera

Apple’s iOS 14 beta has proven surprisingly handy at sussing out what apps are snooping on your phone’s data. It ratted out LinkedIn, Reddit, and TikTok for secretly copying clipboard content earlier this month, and now Instagram’s in hot water after several users reported that their camera’s “in use” indicator stays on even when they’re just scrolling through their Instagram feed.

According to reports shared on social media by users with the iOS 14 beta installed, the green “camera on” indicator would pop up when they used the app even when they weren’t taking photos or recording videos. If this sounds like deja vu, that’s because Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, had to fix a similar issue with its iOS app last year when users found their device’s camera would quietly activate in the background without their permission while using Facebook.

In an interview with the Verge, an Instagram spokesperson called this issue a bug that the company’s currently working to patch.


Even though iOS 14 is still in beta mode and its privacy features aren’t yet available to the general public, it’s already raised plenty of red flags about apps snooping on your data. Though TikTok, LinkedIn, and Reddit may have been the most high-profile examples, researchers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk found more than 50 iOS apps quietly accessing users’ clipboards as well. And while there are certainly more malicious breaches of privacy, these kinds of discoveries are a worrying reminder about how much we risk every time we go online.

Source: Instagram to fix bug that quietly accesses iOS device’s camera

Robin Edgar

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