Photo: Spencer Chen (@spencerchen)
Path caused quite the uproar when a developer discovered its app accesses your iPhone’s address book and stores that information on its servers.Even though Path is taking most of the heat for the controversy, it’s not the only app that scans your iPhone’s address book.
Right now, Apple makes it pretty easy for app developers to gain access to your contacts’ information. Luckily, the company just announced that it will soon require app developers to ask your permission before accessing your address book. That’s good news.
In the meantime, we rounded up some of the more popular iPhone apps that do look at your address book.
Keep in mind that it’s highly unlikely these apps are storing your company for nefarious purposes. In most cases, apps, especially social networking apps, use your contacts’ info so they can let you know if a new friend joins that network.
This whole controversy started with Path, which is getting a lot of the blame for storing your address book's information on its servers. Path looks at your address book so it can recommend following people you already know using the social network.
After the massive backlash, Path quickly issued an update to its app that explicitly asks for your permission before it scans your address book.
Facebook has an optional feature that scans your iPhone's address book to help you find new friends. Facebook does ask for permission before doing so.
According to the app, Facebook will 'store imported contacts on your behalf and may use them to generate friend suggestions for you and others.'
Before the controversy with Path began, Foursquare would scan your address book without permission. However, we reached out to Foursquare and the company says it never stored users' address book info on its servers.
Foursquare recently added an update to its app that asks permission before uploading your address book.
Twitter's official iPhone app will scan your address book to help you find new friends already tweeting. It does ask for permission, but it's language isn't as explicit or cautionary as Path or Foursquare's.
Instagram gives you a very clear heads up before it uploads your address book information to its servers. You must give the app permission before it does so.
Skype lets you import contacts from your iPhone's address book to the app's contact list. It doesn't ask for permission to do so, but Skype doesn't appear to be sending your address book info from your phone to its servers. You have to manually select each person you want to add to your Skype contacts.
Tumblr uses your address book contacts to help you find new blogs to follow. It doesn't ask for permission with a pop up notification, but it's still pretty clear that you're asking Tumblr to take a peek at your contacts.