If you’re hoping for your app to be approved by either Apple or Google, there are quite a few strict guidelines you have to follow to ensure that your app does what it says it does. This is to prevent apps and developers from trying to do sneaky things like steal your personal information, but what if the company that’s supposed to safeguard you gives developers the greenlight?
That seems to be the case with Apple and Uber. In a report from Gizmodo, they were told by security researchers that Apple had allowed Uber access to the user’s iPhone screen and record it. Now before you’re thinking that Apple and Uber had some kind of shady deal, that is not the case. Apparently Apple allowed Uber access to the iPhone screen in a bid to help improve functionality between Uber’s app for the Apple Watch, and in this case it was to help improve memory management.
However it seems that getting such permissions is quite rare as according to Will Strafach, a security researcher and CEO of the Sudo Security Group who told Gizmodo, “It looks like no other third-party developer has been able to get Apple to grant them a private sensitive entitlement of this nature. Considering Uber’s past privacy issues I am very curious how they convinced Apple to allow this.”
Like we said the intention isn’t shady or nefarious at all, but there are concerns about what would happen should a hacker manage to hack Uber’s system, in which they could then in theory record and view what’s on the iPhone user’s screen. Uber has since issued a statement to Gizmodo claiming that the use of the API has since been removed.
According to an Uber spokesperson, “It was used for an old version of the Apple Watch app, specifically to run the heavy lifting of rendering maps on your phone & then send the rendering to the Watch app. This dependency was removed with previous improvements to Apple’s OS & our app. Therefore, we’re removing this API from our iOS codebase.”