Normally when an application on iPhone or iPad needs to access the microphone or camera it should get permission from the user.

Considering applications for iOS distributed through AppStore, if such an application never asked for permission, and isn't listed in the privacy tab in Settings, is it guaranteed that the application can't access the microphone or camera?

  • Paranoia detected.. no, i don't think they can, and remember, if the FBI can't hack an iPhone, I seriously doubt if any one can, so stop being paranoid. – OzzieSpin Oct 12 '16 at 11:51
  • I think once you jailbreak an iPhone/iPad, the system in place to prevent an app from using your camera or microphone without your consent can be bypassed. So while your question didn't specifically mention 'jailbreak', I'm adding this to assist in the paranoia of others. – fsb Oct 12 '16 at 13:18
  • related: apple.stackexchange.com/q/406349/18922 – ctrl-alt-delor Nov 13 '20 at 22:11

Unless it's a hacked system, then no, it will not have access since access is only possible via API's that require granting access.

  • As long as the quality verification process conducted by Apple before worldwide broadcast on AppStore is 100 % secure, and as long as the application doesn't contain any download or upgrade function, the access to the microphone and camera has to go through the API. – dan Oct 13 '16 at 6:51
  • @danielAzuelos it wouldn't matter even then. When installed via de AppStore, you don't have the privileges required to bypass the API's. You'd have to break out of the sandbox, gain root and then you may have a chance, but at that point you have hacked/jailbroken the device. – John Keates Oct 13 '16 at 14:33
  • so then why/how does my FaceTime app randomly launch and the camera come on with out my (the user) input? on the MAC os – mark Jul 27 '18 at 20:14

In the event of a hack it's assumed that the system you mention has been overcome in some fashion. It's also assumed that the hackers find a way to turn the LED light off alongside the camera.

Notably, none of this has happened yet on a Mac. It's just that a handful of headlines were generated by people saying it's possible.

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    The question is tagged iphone, ios & ipad so one would presume they're not referring to the Mac. – grg Oct 12 '16 at 15:47
  • Did you ask yourself how the kernel does turn on or off the camera? If it can, then a process can, and a sufficiently priviledged user can. Since nearly 100 % of Mac users have an admin account, then any Mac user can do it :(. – dan Oct 12 '16 at 16:12
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    Have a look at this tool: objective-see.com/products/oversight.html . – dan Oct 12 '16 at 16:13
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    I believe it's not possible to turn off the light on most Macs -- it's physically linked to the camera, so software can't affect it. The only Mac webcam spyware I've ever heard about simply diverts the stream when the camera is already in use, when the light is obviously expected to be on. It can't be used to spy on the user when they're not using the camera. – Mike Scott Oct 12 '16 at 17:28

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