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Apple Security Flaw Gives Third-Party Keyboards Full Access

iOS 13 has been an unlucky release for Apple. In addition to a slew of defects, a security flaw gives third-party keyboards full access to your iOS device.

Apple Usually Cautious with Third-Party Integration

Apple was weary of third-party integration with iOS for a long time. Their competitors, however, thrived on it, offering innovative solutions that Apple could not produce in house.

With iOS 8, Apple eventually allowed App Extensions. These external software components allowed third-party developers to integrate with other apps. For example, a third-party image processing app can offer extensions that work directly within the stock Photos app. Users can tap the extensions button and use advanced image editing tools provided by a third-party app, directly within Photos.

iOS 8 was also the release that introduced third-party keyboards. Apple waited a long time to introduce this feature, as it had to be implemented securely. Unfortunately, third-party keyboards tend to collect data on their users.

At best, Apple could only provide a warning and the ability to switch data collection off. This was much better than competing mobile operating systems. Users could have their third-party keyboards, while retaining some semblance of privacy.

iOS 13 Defect Allows Third-Party Keyboards Full Access to Data

Apple’s latest iOS release has suffered numerous defects upon launch. This is nothing unusual. As tech companies compete, they tend to cram in more features, creating more bugs in the process. The first few versions of a new operating system tend to be a bit buggy.

The new defect gives third-party keyboard developers full access to data, whether the user has consented or not. The cases in which this can occur are not clear, as Apple is secretive about how to exploit this flaw.

How to Prevent Third-Party Keyboards From Gaining Full Access

The best way to prevent third-party keyboards from accessing your data is to stop using them until Apple releases a patch. You can adjust third-party keyboard settings by tapping on General > Keyboard > Keyboards. Make sure that the stock iOS keyboard is the default keyboard.

You don’t need to delete third-party keyboards. Just don’t use them. If you’re afraid that you may switch to a third-party keyboard, deleting them may be the best option. Tap on General > Keyboard > Keyboards and then tap on Edit. Tap the red circle next to each keyboard you wish to delete and then tap on Delete. Tap Done when you’re finished.

Whatever you decide to do, don’t freak out. All third-party keyboards are distributed through the App Store and have been thoroughly checked for malware. Apple will release a security fix soon. Until then, it’s a safe bet to just use the stock iOS 13 keyboard.

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