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Privacy blindspots in iOS and iPadOS: A common flaw

20 januari, 2021

Design for privacy early in the design process

When designing UI for mobile applications – if the screens show any personal information or any enterprise sensitive data, in the case of enterprise applications – decide to mask the screen during the initial design phases. For a good user experience you can choose to mask only certain elements of the UI instead of the whole screen.

 

Enterprise applications particularly need extra scrutiny when it comes to data visibility. Enterprise applications that display time-sensitive tokens and one-time passwords are at risk if the information isn’t masked in the app switcher and multi-window application context.

 

App Switcher privacy in other apps

A recent update in Whatsapp’s privacy policy and terms made many users switch to the app Signal. We looked at Signal and what’s interesting about it is the length the app goes to – to protect the user’s privacy. 

 

Signal masks the messages screen when the app goes to the background in iOS, when looking at it in the app switcher. Now, that’s one reason to switch to the app. 

 

 

iOS App Switcher

App switcher is an iOS feature that lets you quickly switch from one app to another. When you pick an app from the switcher you can continue from where you previously left off.

 

 

iPadOS multi-window apps

In iOS 13 and later, iPad apps can support multiple windows. For example, in an iPad app that enables document creation, people could have multiple document windows open at the same time.

 

 

Going the extra mile to protect user privacy

Always mask the application screen when the app is not in the foreground and being interacted with by the user.

 

Apps falling under the following categories need extra care with privacy blindspots: 

 

 

Privacy blended with a smoother UX

For a smoother user experience app developers can choose to only mask a specific region in the screen as well.

 

 

 

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