Apple Gave Private iPad Multitasking Camera Access to Zoom

Zoom Multitasking Ipad Featured

If you’re a regular iPad user, you know how important the multitasking features are. It’s frustrating, though, to use a video conferencing app and not be able to utilize the split view feature because it requires third-party access to the camera. However, one app does have that access: Zoom. An app developer discovered Apple gave Zoom access to the iPad multitasking camera that no other third-party video conferencing app has. Is this unfair to the other apps?

Zoom Has iPad Multitasking Camera Acc

I wish I knew about this sooner. I have a regular commitment as secretary to a social club. There were many months we weren’t able to meet in person because of the pandemic. We held Zoom meetings, and I was trying to take notes while Zooming. I used my iPhone with a portable monitor for Zoom and used my iPad for note-taking. I wish I would have known I could have used split view with Zoom and do it all on my iPad.

Zoom Multitasking Ipad Locked

Think Tap Work published a blog post explaining the discovery of Zoom’s access to the iPad split-view multitasking feature. The blog post writer, app developer Jeremy Provost, described his surprise in finding that Zoom had that access.

He reported that once he made that discovery, “I scoured the Web and found no reference to how to enable this feature for our own iOS Zoom client, Participant for Zoom. 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.”

Provost explained that Zoom received the capability through an entitlement. App developers unlock public entitlements to get access to certain iOS features. This is how third-party apps get access to push notifications, iCloud, etc.

Zoom Multitasking Ipad Video Conferencing

Frankly, it’s really not too surprising that Apple is doling out private access to other big tech companies. But being that Apple is currently tied up in a court battle with Epic Games, Fortnite’s parent company, over its practices at the App Store, it’s not really good P.R. right now for Apple.

Along with public entitlements, there are also private entitlements. Provost explained that apps integration with CarPlay is a private entitlement. While documentation for the feature is public, and any developer can request access, Apple restricts apps that fall into certain categories.

While Provost was able to learn the name of the Apple entitlement for the iPad multitasking that Zoom has access to, there is no way for other apps to request the same access. This entitlement isn’t even publicly documented.

Zoom Multitasking Ipad Woman

This has Provost particularly miffed: “It’s understandable that this entitlement may not be appropriate for every app, or perhaps there may be ways for it to be abused. Maybe it makes sense for there to be an approval process, like with CarPlay. But it doesn’t make sense for this to be private, undocumented, and only accessible to Apple’s preferred partners. You can’t say “we treat every developer the same” while privately giving special capabilities to certain developers.”

Is Apple Being Fair?

The obvious question is whether Apple is fair in only allowing Zoom to have the private entitlement for iPad multitasking.

During the pandemic, video conferencing apps became very competitive. And Zoom was taking flak for not having end-to-end encryption, even though it said it did. And now they’re being viewed as receiving unfair preferential treatment. What is Apple getting out of it to only allow Zoom to have the iPad multitasking access?

Read on to learn more about how to use the iPad with Apple Magic Keyboard.

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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