Zoom gains special access to iPad’s Camera API for multitasking features

An app developer named Jeremy Provost has reportedly discovered that Apple has given Zoom access to the iPad’s camera API. Apart from FaceTime and now Zoom, none of the other video call/meeting apps are allowed to access the camera API. The special access that Zoom now has, enables it to allow running its app in Split View to multitask while using other apps.

Provost adds that he looked for ways in which developers could access the Camera API, after learning about Zoom’s new development. However, he found out that not all app developers are able to access the API. 

“We asked Zoom and to our surprise, they gave us the answer, and in the process revealed an apparently private process, available only to those deemed worthy by Apple,“ says Provost.

For accessing an API, a developer must be given an “entitlement” from Apple. After granting access, the app is able to store a key-value pair which is some sort of an identifier – a unique key.

“For example, an app needs the HomeKit Entitlement — along with explicit user consent — to access a user’s home automation network. An app stores its entitlements as key-value pairs embedded in the code signature of its binary executable,“ reads an explainer from Apple.

Provost argues that while other APIs such as CarPlay are publicly documented and available for use by any app developer, the Camera API for multitasking is nowhere to be found on any of the Apple web pages or in any sort of documentation.

As we’ve been informed, it is called com.apple.developer.avfoundation.multitasking-camera-access. Unfortunately, unlike with CarPlay there is no public process for requesting this entitlement. In fact, its existence is not even documented by Apple publicly. Go ahead and Google it, you’ll only turn up the Zoom Developer Forum.

Provost

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