The camera system on the iPhone has never been better. Apple iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max have some of the best shooters on the market. But there is no level of quality that covers the fact that shady applications can access your camera for malicious reasons. You can control the situation, and block whatever application you want from using your front and back cameras.
Deny Camera Access When Requested
First of all, third-party applications on your iPhone only have permission to use your camera if you provide it. The first time you launch an application that wants to use one of your cameras, it will ask for permission via a pop-up window, as well as location and microphone permissions. Most applications will state at the prompt why they need access, and if that doesn’t sound right or isn’t listed, you can press “Don’t Allow” on the request.
After rejection, the next time the application tries to use one of your cameras, a prompt might tell you to turn it on manually in Settings. Either that, or it will open the Camera interface, which won’t work (I’m looking at you, Uber).
Often, you have to press “OK” because you are trying to use a feature that will not work without a back camera or TrueDth. Any application made to take photos and videos, create stories, scan codes or labels, and use augmented reality technology to change the world around you clearly needs permission.
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However, if you only need to import credit cards faster, change profile pictures very quickly, or scan the QR code just once, to mention a few reasons, you can press “OK,” use the feature, and disable access afterwards. You might even press “OK” without thinking about it because you are used to reject requests, in this case, you want to review all applications that can use your camera.
Some applications that you grant access may still abuse their privileges, intentionally or unintentionally. For example, the Facebook bug that is now patched turns on the Camera view after tapping on a photo, something that should never have happened.
On the other side of the coin, the App Store review process is good at capturing bad intentions, but it’s not perfect. It makes sense that your iPhone can take a selfie without your knowledge one day, disguised as a software error. Case in point, Clearview AI, which erodes all face images publicly available on the web for face recognition databases that are sold to law enforcement (and other possibilities). Just imagine using a more shadier technique where it asks thousands of application makers to enter the code into their application to get your new face profile. Horrible
Manage Applications that Have Camera Privileges
To manage the list of third party applications that request access to your camera, go to Settings -> Privacy -> Camera. Turning off green next to the application means they currently have permission to access the Apple camera interface, and turning off gray means you reject it. You can tap one of the toggles green here to revoke permission.
Of course, if you want to give permission again, you just have to go back to this page and tap the switch next to the application in question. If you try to use a camera-focused feature in the rejected application later, it will instruct you to come back here and change your settings (unless you are Uber).
This article was created during Gadget Hacks’ special coverage of smartphone privacy and security. See the entire series of Privacy and Security.