VSCO & iOS 14 Privacy Issues


as part of iOS14 update, apple has intrtoduced some very novel privacy protections for the users, one of them being discete selection of photos that you share with the app; specifically apple calls this “Limited Photos library access”.

inside of the privacy settings, here’s what the language looks like for apps that require these permissions:

up until now, any photo app, or any app through which you’ve shared photos would simply ask you to allow them “theoretical” acess to your photos — meanining that yes, of course the app will need access to your photos, but that it will actually only get access to the one specific photo that you’re sharing, or editing etc.

with iOS 14 privacy initiative, the interesting language now sheds some light what the apps actually have access to: access to photos includes associated metadata such as location…

so what?

well, i suppose the idea here is that even though you’re not really sharing photos throuh the app, somewhere, somehow in the background all these apps scrape this metadata of your locations (assuming you tag your photos with gps location, i do), combine then with identifies from your phone and either the app’s owner or whomever their 3rd party partner would be have a comprehensive view into your real life.

creepy VSCO

i thought perhaps i was overreacting because when i originally encountered this was two days ago and VSCO at that time was on a “week old” update, yet today (21-Sept-2020) the newest version, 183, exhibits the same identical behavior.

downloading the latest app, starting up and selecting only my chosen photos one quickly runs into the following issue:

they seem to be saying that it’s simply a matter of convenience – but in fact, when you don’t have this full permission, even though you can still individually import a photo and edit it, when it comes to saving it here’s the error that you actually get:

hmm, i thought i was smarter than that, so i cancelled out of the saving option and actually tried to export it, and at that point the app just completely paralyzed itself and sat indefinitely in this status:

what now?

  • delete the app
  • write a 1 star review
  • write a blog that no one will read
  • use alternate apps that edit your photos without having this user hostile take with regards to what they’re entitled to.