An Instagram bug showed a ‘camera on’ indicator for iOS 14 devices even when users weren’t taking photos
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
In the latest instance of iOS 14’s beta mode tattling on unexpected app behavior, some users reported that they were seeing the green “camera on” indicator while using Instagram when they were just scrolling through their feeds, not taking a photo or video.
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 pic.twitter.com/EnTIRsqq3R
— KevDoy (@KevDoy) July 17, 2020
An Instagram spokesperson said in an email to The Verge that the behavior was a bug and that it’s being fixed. The app’s Create Mode is accessible from the Instagram camera which could set off the camera indicator, and swiping into the app’s Camera from Feed may also trip it up.
“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,” the spokesperson said. “We do not access your camera in those instances, and no content is recorded.”
The behavior looks to be yet another of iOS 14’s aggressive new user notifications, which alert users to app behaviors like clipboard copying. Several iOS apps, including TikTok, LinkedIn, and Reddit were discovered to be accessing users’ clipboard content, since whenever a third-party app accesses the clipboard of a device with iOS 14, a notification pops up.
TikTok parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, had said earlier this year it planned to stop accessing devices’ clipboards. The company told The Verge last month that it had submitted an update to the App Store to remove the feature, which it described as an “anti-spam” measure. The company said the feature was never introduced to Android devices. LinkedIn said it was stopping the clipboard-copying practice and Reddit said it was fixing a piece of code that caused the behavior in its app.
Instagram’s parent company Facebook fixed a bug in its iOS app last year that appeared to be activating devices’ cameras in the background without users’ knowledge.