Instagram Promises It’s Not Snooping on iOS Users’ Cameras, Says It’s a Bug

Photo: Denis Charlet, Getty Images
Photo: Denis Charlet, Getty Images

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.

“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,” they told the outlet. “We do not access your camera in those instances, and no content is recorded.”

What’s likely happening, the spokesperson added, is that the indicator is mistakenly popping up when the user swipes from the in-app camera either to their feed or to Create Mode. Instagram has promised to have a fix for this issue in a future update to its iOS app.

LinkedIn and Reddit Are The Latest Apps Found to be Snooping On Your Clipboards

iOS 14’s new privacy feature has been snitching on a lot of snooping apps in recent days, raising concerns from users and hopefully inspiring the companies behind the apps to do something about it. The latest apps caught snitching were LinkedIn and Reddit, although the companies want to assure users...

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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.