Signal Privacy Messenger Users Advised to Turn Off CallKit Support in Latest Update

by

Encrypted communications app Signal received an update yesterday that enabled video calling for the first time, but the latest version also brings CallKit support to the platform, which may leave some privacy-conscious users wary.

Introduced in iOS 10, the CallKit SDK allows incoming calls from third-party VoIP apps to appear on the iOS lock screen and recent calls list, just like standard cellular IDs do. The concern among the privacy community is that their call data – including who they called and how long they spoke for – could be synced to iCloud.

Screen Shot 4
In a blog post announcing the new beta features, Signal developers Open Whisper Systems noted that like video calling, CallKit integration is optional, and those concerned about data leakage can turn the support off in settings (Settings -> Advanced -> Use CallKit). The developers also told Wired that in the future, CallKit might only display "Signal users" in an iPhone's call log, to prevent the disclosure of identifying information.

Back in August, Russian security firm Elcomsoft discovered that iPhones automatically send a user's call history to the company's servers if iCloud is enabled, but the data gets uploaded in many instances without any user notification. The fear among privacy-minded users is that state actors could theoretically gain access to this information through cooperation with Apple, or that hackers could crack iCloud passwords and break into accounts.

More recently Elcomsoft revealed that when iPhone and iPad users permanently deleted their Safari browser history off their devices, iCloud had been storing that history for several months to over a year, before Apple reportedly fixed the issue. Concerned users are advised to turn off iCloud backups to keep their browsing history private, and be sure to check out the MacRumors Safari privacy guide for more useful information regarding browser settings on iOS devices.

Signal Private Messenger is a free download [Direct Link] for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store.

Top Rated Comments

DaveTheRave Avatar
51 months ago
I'm glad this app keeps getting updated. I really believe everyone should have it even if none of your contacts use it now. I only have one contact on it but I'm keeping it on my phone because they say the Signal encryption is the best - Snowden-approved! WhatsApp uses it. But Signal doesn't backup conversations to the cloud so you could argue its more secure than Whatsapp. Most of us don't require that level of security but nice to know it's there as an option. Download Signal today!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sasparilla Avatar
51 months ago
FYI....You have to enable the beta "take video calls from the lock screen" for this to be an issue. Just regular Signal use, even with latest update, won't cause the CallKit support to be enabled.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rigby Avatar
51 months ago
It's high time for Apple to provide an option to disable uploading of the call history to the cloud.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thisisnotmyname Avatar
51 months ago

"Call Blocking & Identification", the setting referred to here that can be set up through Apple's CallKit API, is always optional and needs to be explicitly turned on by the user as it is off as default. This is because Apple built it that way and not because Signal did something extra.

Yes, and I have that off because I'm a bit of a privacy whack-a-doodle. I'd like control over iCloud extended into other areas though as well such as forbidding Safari history from synching or eliminating iMessage from backups. Ideally I'd like individual encryption keys on iCloud backup altogether (opt-in and warning us that if we lose the key the backup becomes useless as even Apple would not be able to decrypt the data) so I would feel comfortable using the service; currently I only backup locally to media I control and use encryption solely in my possession.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thisisnotmyname Avatar
51 months ago
Smart move to make it optional. I'd like to see that be core to Apple's own settings as well.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 5s black slate

Images of Unreleased iPhone 5s in Black and Slate Shared Online

Sunday January 17, 2021 9:47 am PST by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today shared images of a prototype iPhone 5s in an unreleased Black and Slate color. The iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. The device featured Touch ID, a 64-bit processor, and a True Tone LED flash for the first time. Other new features included a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a 15 percent larger camera sensor, Burst Mode, and Slo-Mo...
iP12 charge airpods feature 2

Hidden iPhone 12 Hardware Feature Could Still be Unlocked

Thursday January 14, 2021 2:51 am PST by
All iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models purportedly have a hidden reverse wireless charging feature, according to an FCC filing. The feature has not yet been activated, but could yet be unlocked for an upcoming Apple accessory. The FCC filing suggests that iPhone 12 models contain the hardware for Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) to accessories: In addition to being able to be charged by a...
Top Stories 43 Feature

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and iPhone Rumors, Best of CES 2021

Saturday January 16, 2021 6:00 am PST by
This week was sure a busy one in the Apple world, with a flurry of announcements out of CES early in the week followed by a rash of Mac- and iPhone-related rumors later in the week. The new rumors this week included details on updated MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro models, as well as a few other tidbits, so make sure to read on below to get caught up! Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to...
foldable iPhone concept feature

Apple Testing In-Display Fingerprint Sensor for iPhone 13, Foldable iPhone Also in the Works

Friday January 15, 2021 1:46 pm PST by
Apple has started "early work" on an iPhone that has a foldable display, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Though testing of a foldable iPhone has begun, Apple has not committed to releasing a device that has a foldable display. Development has not yet expanded beyond a display and Apple does not have full foldable iPhone prototypes in its labs. Like foldable...
16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
macbook pro flexgate

Apple Extends 13-Inch MacBook Pro Backlight Repair Program

Sunday January 17, 2021 10:31 am PST by
Apple this week extended its worldwide 13-inch MacBook Pro Display Backlight Service Program, authorizing coverage for eligible notebooks for up to five years after the original purchase date or up to three years after the start date of the program, whichever is longer. The previous cutoff was four years after the original purchase date. Apple launched the program on May 21, 2019 after...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
Apple TV Ray Light 2 Triad

Apple Extends Free Apple TV+ Trials Until July

Friday January 15, 2021 10:50 am PST by
Apple is once again planning to extend its free Apple TV+ trial subscriptions, this time until July. When Apple TV+ launched in November 2019, Apple offered free Apple TV+ subscriptions to those who purchased a new Apple device in or after September 2019. Those free subscriptions were set to expire in November 2020, but in October 2020, Apple announced that it was extending free trials...
mac pro mini feature

Apple Working on Two New Mac Pro Desktops, One of Which Will Be Reminiscent of Power Mac G4 Cube

Friday January 15, 2021 10:23 am PST by
Apple is developing two versions of the Mac Pro to succeed the Mac Pro that was first released in December 2019, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The first updated Mac Pro is a direct successor to the current Mac Pro and it will use the same design. It may also be equipped with Intel processors rather than Apple silicon chips, and it could be one of the sole machines in the Mac...
macbook pro magsafe

MagSafe is Coming Back to the Mac: A Look Back at Apple's Original Magnetic Charging Technology

Friday January 15, 2021 12:16 pm PST by
Surprise late night rumors last night provided us with our first in-depth look at what we can expect from the new MacBook Pro models that are coming in 2021, and there are some significant changes in the works. Along with additional ports, a new flat-edged design, and the removal of the Touch Bar, Apple's updated MacBook Pro machines will readopt MagSafe. MagSafe in the 2021 MacBook Pro...