Details about iOS Photo Permissions
April 24, 2018 1:52 PM   Subscribe

I don't want my iOS apps slurping up all the photos on my phone. Can they do this without my express clicking, if I give them permission to read/write photos?

I have been pretty stingy with photo permissions for all my iPhone apps, even though it makes my life difficult. I typically deny permissions, because I don't want them just wholesale download the photos in my library (and I am unlikely to offload them to a laptop, to make this less consequential).

There's a couple API screens we all recognize for accessing photos from the photo library -- is this kind of maneuver still required for the app to get any of my photos, or can they just access all of them (to crunch, upload, etc) the moment I give it permissions?

I'm guessing the latter, and that my only precaution is to make sure I clear my phone photos often.
posted by gensubuser to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
All giving an app permission does is let iOS know it’s kosher when you ask the app to grab a pic.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:59 PM on April 24, 2018

Best answer: If you give an app permission to access your photos, I'm pretty sure it can just snarf them all up. So for instance the google photos app has the option to back up and sync all photos to your google drive, and just needs photo library access, not some special permission.

It's a little clunky, but one workaround for apps that support it, is to deny access to the photo library, and then when you want to email or slack or tweet a picture, find it in the photos app and use the Share menu (an up arrow) to get it into the app.
posted by aubilenon at 2:44 PM on April 24, 2018

Best answer: If you've given an app permission to use your camera roll, it can read those photos without alerting you or presenting the image picker. This is how apps like Dropbox and MS OneDrive can slurp up photos you take and upload them to cloud storage without user intervention.

The only way to prevent this is to deny the app access to the camera roll when it asks, or revoke the permission via the Settings app if you've already granted it.
posted by jeffch at 2:45 PM on April 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Ok! Figures! Yeah, I use the share trick most of the time, but a lot of apps aren't set up to receive that. I will just clear out my photos I guess; probably for the best.
posted by gensubuser at 2:55 PM on April 24, 2018

Some of the apps that don't have share button integration may still let you copy and paste photos in. I doubt there's any clunky workaround that will work for all apps though.
posted by aubilenon at 8:07 PM on April 24, 2018

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