CONCERNED teens are reporting that popular apps like TikTok and YouTube are spying on them through their iPhones.
Various posts on social media this week suggest the apps are activating users’ microphones the moment they’re launched on one of Apple’s devices.
The reports follow the release of iOS 14 – the latest iPhone update – which added a feature that informs users when they’re being spied on.
An orange dot now appears in the upper right corner of the screen when the mic is activated, while a green one shines when the camera is on.
Youngsters on Twitter claim that an orange light appears on their iPhone as soon as they launch TikTok – and before they record anything.
“Yall tiktok is listening to us this orange dot appears whilst on the app then disappears when i leave tiktok,” one user wrote on Monday.
Another said: “I just now realised I have the orange dot whenever I go on tiktok even tho I’m not recording any video.”
Others reported a similar issue with the YouTube app on iOS.
One worried Twitter user wrote: “I am not sure if this is a bug, but after installing the ios14 beta the orange dot appears every time I use the YouTube iPhone app.
“The dot means that I am using the mic (nice feature @Apple). I didn’t use any feature in the app that requires the mic, I am a bit concerned.”
The latest iPhone update was released last week and added the “warning dot” to alert people when apps were recording them.
By swiping into your Control Centre, you’re able to see details about which app is using the microphone or camera.
If you suspect something is up, you can check the app’s permissions in Settings and deny specific apps access to your microphone or camera.
If you’re really worried, you could just delete the app altogether.
It’s not clear whether alleged issues with YouTube and TikTok are the result of bug or something more sinister.
In June, early testers of iOS 14 discovered that the warning light appeared whenever they opened Instagram.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, said the issue was the result of a bug and released a patch to fix it.
The Sun has tried opening both the TikTok and YouTube apps on an iPhone 11 Pro running iOS 14 and no warning light has appeared.
The Sun has reached out to both TikTok and YouTube for comment.
Fears that apps are snooping on you have been around for years.
Many Facebook users say they’ve spoken about something out loud, only for related adverts to appear on the app soon after.
These users claim they’ve never searched for this sort of content before, and the only possible explanation is snooping.
Users reckon Facebook is using your phone’s microphone to listen in on real-world conversations – to help target ads. But is it true?
Facebook has been very clear about the matter, and says it isn’t using microphone recordings to target ads better.
“Facebook does not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed,” a company spokesperson said.
“Some recent articles have suggested that we must be listening to people’s conversations in order to show them relevant ads. This is not true.
“We show ads based on people’s interests and other profile information – not what you’re talking out loud about.
iPhone tricks to try today
Here are some of the best…
- Typing cursor – When typing, hold down the space bar to turn your keyboard into a trackpad, letting you move around words and sentences more easily
- Close all Safari tabs – To do this in one go, simply hold the overlapped squares in the bottom right-hand corner, and press close all tabs
- Delete lots of photos quickly – Hold down on a photo and then drag your finger diagonally in Photos to select lots of images at once, then hit delete
- Convert currency quickly – Swipe down from the top of your Home screen (or swipe left to right on an iPhone X or later model), then tap in the bar and type a currency (like $200) and it will automatically covert to your local currency
- Check if you’re due a battery upgrade – Batteries inside smartphones degrade over time. Just go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health, and check out the Maximum Capacity reading. Generally a battery is considered worn when you’re down to 80% capacity. If you’re below, you can buy a battery swap from Apple
- Move apps around faster – Hold an app until it starts wiggling, then (while still holding) tap other apps, causing them to stack so you can move them around easier
“We only access your microphone if you have given our app permission and if you are actively using a specific feature that requires audio.
“This might include recording a video or using an optional feature we introduced two years ago to include music or other audio in your status updates.”
There’s never been any solid evidence – beyond hearsay and anecdotes – that Facebook is recording your real-life conversations.
However, it’s entirely possible that other rogue apps could listen in on what you’re doing.
Amazing iOS 14 feature lets you take a screenshot by tapping the back of your phone
In other news, there’s a new iPhone homscreen in iOS 14, and fans are divided over it.
Find out about all the new iOS 14 features here.
And check out our review for the new (and very cheap) iPhone SE.
Do you think apps are spying on you? Let us know in the comments!
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