Apple issued a warning yesterday for iOS 13 users who installed a third-party keyboard app on their device. Examples of such apps include Google Gboard or the SwiftKey keyboard app. Apple warns that it has discovered an error in iOS 13 that will allow such applications to have full access to a user’s iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. While some third-party keyboard apps are set up to function independently without access to the device on which they are installed, apps may require the user to grant full access to the phone to provide additional features. The error in iOS 13 will automatically guarantee full access to these apps even if the user has not approved this request.
Users can see if a third-party keyboard application is installed on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch by going to Settings => General => Keyboard => Keyboards. Apple says it will launch a software update that will kill this error and fix the problem. Apple also notes that the security problem has nothing to do with its “built-in keyboards”. The error also does not affect third-party keyboard apps that do not seek full access to the device on which they are installed.
“Third-party keyboard extensions in iOS can be designed to run entirely standalone, without access to external services, or they can request “full access” to provide additional features through network access. Apple has discovered a bug in iOS 13 and iPadOS that can result in keyboard extensions being granted full access even if you haven’t approved this access…this issue does not impact Apple’s built-in keyboards. It also doesn’t impact third-party keyboards that don’t make use of full access. The issue will be fixed soon in an upcoming software update.”- Apple
Apple just launched iOS 13.1 yesterday, days after it stopped using iOS 13. The latter solved a vulnerability we talked about earlier, one that could allow someone to access an iPhone user’s contacts even without unlocking the phone. Now, it seems that iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users should stay away from third-party keyboard apps (and uninstall those they have) until iOS 13.2 is removed.
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