Users have discovered a strange flaw in the Facebook for iPhone: when you open a photo in full screen, it activates the camera and the microphone; you can see this on the left side of the screen. This happens only on newer versions of iOS; the Apple system does not warn you when an app in the foreground uses the camera.
On Twitter, users Daryl Lasafin and Joshua Maddux posted videos showing what happens: you touch a profile photo, or any image, and it will expand on the screen. When you close it, a banner will appear on the left side with the camera feed, showing what is in front of you.
We confirm this in Tecnoblog: Facebook in version 246.0, running on iOS 13.2.2, exhibits this behavior. According to the The Next Web, the problem does not occur on iOS 13.1.3; and Maddux was unable to reproduce this on an iPhone running iOS 12.
It is worth clarifying that Facebook is not using the camera or microphone in the background. It does this only when in use, being displayed on the screen, not when you return to the home screen or switch to another app. Besides that:
- Facebook will only have access to your camera and microphone if you have given authorization – it is possible to check this in the Adjustments;
- the Facebook don’t have access to your camera in the backgroundbecause iOS does not allow it;
- if Facebook used its microphone in the background, iOS would show a notification at the top of the screen – which doesn’t happen.
iOS doesn’t warn if foreground apps use camera
However, iOS does not warn if an app in the foreground is using the camera or microphone. It is a limitation that has always existed, and that was pointed out in 2017 by security researcher Felix Krause.
“After granting access to your camera for an application, it can access the front and rear camera; record you anytime the app is in the foreground; take pictures and record videos without telling you; upload photos and videos immediately; perform facial recognition in real time to detect facial features or expressions ”, said Krause at the time.
So if you want to restrict access to your camera and microphone, do the following:
- follow the path Settings> Privacy;
- touch Microphone and disable access to the apps you want;
- return to the previous screen, tap Camera and do the same.
If you want to restrict Facebook only, go to Settings, scroll through the list, tap Facebook and turn off authorization for Camera and Microphone.