19 September, 2014

Privacy Bug in iOS 8 Could Lead to Some Awkward Conversations

If you're an iPhone owner, iOS 8 brings with it a lot of great features, including new kinds of keyboards, a way to see which apps are killing your battery and a smarter Siri. It also gives your phone a new way to rat out who you've been talking to.

With iOS 8, the app-switching screen that appears when you double-press the home button now shows a row of your most recent contacts up top. That's nice and convenient until you exchange texts with an ex, and the contact appears on the screen for all to see.

Normally, to cover your tracks on a potentially controversial exchange, all you'd need to do is delete the message (or call) from your history. That still works, but as Mashable has discovered, deleting a call or message does not remove the contact from the recents list that appears on the app switcher deleting a call or message does not remove the contact from the recents list that appears on the app switcher.

Anyone who sees the screen as you switch apps will know who you've been talking to — even if you've deleted the actual exchanges. The contact remains there until it moves down the line, as you contact more people.

You can disable your recent contacts from appearing on the app switcher in settings (see below). iOS 8 lets you select either recent contacts, favorites, both (the default) or nothing. Disabling recents will prevent any wandering eyes from finding out who you're talking to. However, an overly attached girlfriend or boyfriend who's actively looking for incriminating data could simply re-enable the feature, and the recent contacts will appear.

The alternative is to simply not create a contact for the person's phone number. If the number you're messaging or calling isn't associated with one of your contacts, it won't appear in the recent contacts on the app switcher.\

In all likelihood, this is an oversight on Apple's part, and will be fixed in a software update. In the meantime, though, best to keep using Snapchat.