Friday, May 7, 2021

Private iPad Camera Multitasking Entitlement

Jeremy Provost:

A few months back I was surprised to see that Zoom had somehow been able to tap into using the camera during iPad Split View multitasking. This is an obvious feature for a videoconferencing app so that you can keep one eye on your meeting while you consult notes, look at a presentation, or slack off on Twitter.

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.


Unfortunately, unlike with CarPlay there is no public process for requesting this entitlement. In fact, its existence is not even documented by Apple publicly.


You can’t say “we treat every developer the same” while privately giving special capabilities to certain developers.


Update (2021-05-10): See also: Hacker News, 9to5Mac, MacRumors.

Update (2021-08-18): Jeremy Provost:

Did we hear back from Apple? Yes, we were told that our request was forwarded to the appropriate team. Unfortunately we never heard from that team. I have periodically checked in with Apple and been told that the request is still under review.


Meanwhile, there had been a new development that slipped right under my nose.


Beginning with iOS 13.5, you can use the Multitasking Camera Access entitlement to let your app continue using the camera when using the Multitasking feature. This scenario occurs in both Split View and Slide Over modes. In iOS 15 and later, this behavior extends to Picture in Picture mode using AVKit’s new API.


You must request access to use the entitlement. For information about requesting access, see

Update (2023-02-16): Jeremy Provost:

To provide an update: we were approved to use the relevant entitlement for development in mid-October 2021.


We replied to Apple’s email, as requested, with details of the implementation and the request to grant us the distribution entitlement.

The bad news is we have heard exactly zero words from them in the 5 weeks that have followed.


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