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Exclusive: WhatsApp scans your photos

Apple held it 31st World Wide Developers Conference on June 22nd, 2020 where Apple announced a wide range of new softwares – iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, tvOS 14 and macOS 11 Big Sur with a ton of fresh features. With all of these fresh new features, also comes some new advancements to Privacy. Each year, Apple takes Privacy & Security to the next level and this year is no different.

With iOS & iPadOS 14, Apple has introduced a new way of controlling 3rd Party apps accessing your Photos and Videos. Earlier, If you wanted to send a photo or video to someone with a 3rd Party App, you first had to give access for Photos and Videos to the app which means that the 3rd Party App has access to all of your Photos and Videos, even the ones you do not intend to send to someone. With iOS 14, Apple has taken up on this, and now, if you ever want to send a Photo or Video to someone with a 3rd Party App, the app only has access to the photo or video you selected to send, and no other Photos or Videos in your Gallery which is a huge leap forward towards Privacy. This is just one of the many amazing Privacy features iOS & iPadOS 14 has.

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Following the release of the first beta of iOS 14, many users have discovered popular apps have been reading the contents of their clipboard. Introduced in iOS 14, were a handful of privacy features, one of which notifies the user when their clipboard is being accessed. Users have discovered popular apps including LinkedIn, TikTok and Reddit have been found to be snooping on users clipboards, which triggers the privacy popup. Reddit and LinkedIn have taken action on this issue whereas TikTok still remains snooping on clipboards. 

Discovered by Chris Grainger of the Appleosophy Team, popular messaging app WhatsApp repeatedly requests full image access upon launch or even when it is refreshed as this new privacy feature allows users to select only specific photos or albums from their library that can be accessed by a certain application. This eludes that WhatsApp requests or ‘scans’ every photo a user opens the app, which raises a whole range of privacy and transparency issues aforementioned above.

WhatsApp is constantly prompting users with a popup upon launching or refreshing the app for full access to all your Photos and Videos. The Permission Popup says: “WhatsApp” Would Like to Access Your Photos : This lets you send photos and videos from your library and save the ones you capture. You have two options to select – Select More Photos and Keep Current Selection which will dismiss the popup.

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WhatsApp is expected to release an update to stop these popups from appearing every time you open or refresh the app.

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