When a third-party iOS app wants to access information like your location, contacts, calendar, or photos, that software has to explicitly request your permission to do so. This not only keeps apps from secretly downloading your information, but it more importantly prevents developers from potentially giving or selling your personal information to others without your knowledge. What about your music library, though? As Music Tracker developer Ben Dodson found out and reported to MacRumors, there are no such security measures in place for your catalog of songs.
What this means is that apps like Music Tracker, which scans your library and then notifies you of changes to it, can get full access to your collection of tracks without asking you for it. Potentially, an app could send that information back to a third-party server to be used in tracking you or targeting advertisements to you based on the songs in your music library.
Dodson’s app doesn’t collect any library data from users, and the developer isn’t aware of any titles that do collect that information in the background. He has, however, filed a bug report with Apple asking for a permissions feature to be implemented for the music library.
It seems like a strange oversight for Apple to have made, but it’s one that I never really thought about. Now, however, the idea of my apps using my music library as a way to track me or send targeted advertisements to my device has given me a bit of worry about this privacy issue. Hopefully, Apple will respond swiftly and require the same permissions notifications that is required for access to my location, photo library, contacts, and calendar.