A new bug on Instagram was accessing cameras on iPhones running iOS 14 betas when users were not taking photos or videos using the app’s camera mode. Users have reported seeing the green ‘camera on’ icon while scrolling through their Instagram feeds.
Instagram’s parent company Facebook also experienced a similar bug last year, accessing users’ cameras and activating them in the background without their knowledge. However, there was no evidence of videos or photos being uploaded due to the bug which could be the same case as Instagram’s latest bug.
Twitter user KevDoy shared the screenshots on Twitter in which the indication can be seen in the control panel.
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
A spokesperson from the company reached out to TheVerge to address the issue. He states that the behavior was a bug that has now been fixed and it will most likely not happen again. He claims that the app’s create mode is accessed by users from Instagram’s camera which may have set off the camera indicator.
The spokesperson stated:
“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. We do not access your camera in those instances, and no content is recorded.”
The indication seems to be another one of iOS 14’s notifications that alert users about unusual activities like clipboard copying as seen in a few apps earlier this month after tech researchers Tommy Mysk and Talal Bakry uncovered 32 apps including TikTok that access clipboard data without permission.
Users already worry about the myth that Facebook and Google secretly listen to conversations while keeping mics on. Adding another potential bug is likely to make things harder for an influential platform like Instagram. However, as iOS 14 is still under beta testing with new versions rolling out every two weeks, it is only fair that a few bugs will pop up now and then. As long as the company is able to fix the issue and respect user privacy in case of any breaches, users have nothing to worry about.