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Zoom has special access to iPad camera, can let users multi-task on call

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Zoom lets users multi-task on the Apple iPad, which one cannot do with other video calling apps on the platform. It turns out that Zoom has the reason it supports Split View multitasking mode is because Zoom has been given access to a special iPadOS API. App developer Jeremy Provost has learned that Zoom has special permission from Apple to use the iPad’s camera during Split View multitasking, notes a report by 9to5Mac.

This was first brought to attention by app developer Jeremy Provost, who, in a blog post, explains that in contrast to other apps, Zoom uses a special Application Programming Interface (API) that allows the app to continue using and accessing the ‌iPad‌ camera while the app is being used in Split View mode. Zoom has the ability to do this thanks to an “entitlement,” which grants the company to use a multitasking-friendly programming interface that’s normally off-limits outside of FaceTime.

The entitlement grants developers the ability to execute a particular capability with an API. This will allow users to open and use a different app while video conferencing. Without the feature which comes as part of the special API, if a user puts a video conferencing app into Split view mode, the video call would go dark as the app cannot access the ‌iPad‌ camera when multitasking. The special API that Zoom has been given is undocumented and only available to those Apple considers “worthy,” according to the post by Jeremy Provost.

Apple has not commented on the issue, though it does raise questions on why only Zoom has been given access to this special API. Zoom app has become a major asset of pandemic life, and was one of the most popular apps of 2020. It has also become the default app for video-calling for many users, which could explain why Apple has given it this special access. Still other video-conferencing apps like Google Meet, Microsoft Teams don’t appear to have the same support on iPad.

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