Apple Gave Zoom Access to Special API to Use iPad Camera During Split View Multitasking
Zoom, a hallmark platform used by millions during the global health crisis, has been given access to a special iPadOS API that allows the app to use the iPad camera while the app is in use in Split View multitasking mode.
This case of special treatment was first brought to attention by app developer Jeremy Provost, who, in a blog post, explains that Zoom uses a special API that allows the app to continue using and accessing the iPad camera while the app is being used in Split View mode.
Zoom can do this thanks to an "entitlement," which grants developers the ability to execute a particular capability with an API. As Provost notes, Apple publicly documents the ability for developers to apply for several different entitlements, such as ones related to CarPlay, HomeKit, and more. However, the special API that Zoom has been given is not offered to other developers by Apple, nor is its existence acknowledged by the company itself.
On the Zoom Developer Forum, a staff member for the video conferencing platform had confirmed earlier in February that Zoom has access to the "com.apple.developer.avfoundation.multitasking-camera-access," or iPad Camera Multitasking entitlement.
For obvious reasons, this ability is useful when users may want to reference and use a separate app during a video conferencing call. Without this special API, if a user puts a video conferencing app into Split view mode, the video call would go dark as the app cannot access the iPad camera when multitasking.
The new revelation comes at a troubling time for the Cupertino tech giant. The company is currently embroiled in a mammoth legal battle with game developer Epic Games, which accuses it of holding unfair, and anti-competitive control over the App Store and the distribution of apps on iOS devices.
The trial between the two titans began on May 3, and ever since, evidence, including email correspondence between Apple executives and employees, has revealed that Apple has previously granted certain developers, such as Hulu, access to APIs unavailable to other developers. Apple contuines to pledge that it treats all developers the same and offers everyone a "level playing field."
We've reached out to Apple for comment and will update this post if we hear back.
Top Rated Comments
The company I work for uses a certain software package. As a trusted partner, We have access to APIs which are undocumented and not available to all. This is because our use case demands it.
Without the API access, and comms directly with their development teams it wouldn’t be possible for us to use their software solution.
As a personal side gig I have a watch app. There’s no way I’d expect to get the same level of access as a major company, particularly with regards to accessing APIs which I don’t need.
An important rule of any secure system is that people have access to only what they need and nothing more.