iOS 14 feature catches Instagram accessing phones’ cameras

Since the release of Apple’s iOS 14 beta for iPhone, people have been noticing a new feature where a green dot appears in the status bar when an app is accessing the camera, designed to make you more aware of apps that are doing things they shouldn’t.

As reported by The Verge, some people took to Twitter to complain that the Instagram app was accessing phones’ cameras when they were just scrolling on the timeline and not taking any photos or videos.

An Instagram spokesperson told The Verge that this behaviour was a bug that was now being fixed. They said:

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

As the camera feature is accessible a swipe away from the home screen, Instagram is claiming that a bug was registering as the camera being on even on the Feed.

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

— KevDoy (@KevDoy)
July 17, 2020

But people were rightly worried that a popular app such as Instagram was potentially accessing their iPhones’ cameras without their knowledge. iOS 14 also shows a yellow dot in the same place when the microphone is being accessed by an app.

It’s all part of iOS 14’s new features that try to make you more aware of what apps are accessing, and since the beta launch it has outed some bad behaviour. TikTok, LinkedIn, and Reddit were three big apps that were regularly accessing the clipboard on phones. These companies also blamed bugs – it’s very hard to tell if this is the truth or not, but at least Apple has found a way to get companies to change their apps’ suspicious behaviour.

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