FACT CHECK: Claim that iPhones take ‘photos’ in the dark NEEDS CONTEXT

Apple’s iPhones take photos of you every five seconds while in the dark.

Facebook page Couple Power Aguasss 2024-05-14 Needs Context

The iPhone’s infrared flashes detect user activity, and does not capture “invisible” photos.

A vlogger on Facebook claimed that Apple’s iPhones take photos of you every five seconds while in the dark. This needs context.

What’s shown in the video is part of the iPhone’s TrueDepth camera system, which fires off thousands of infrared dots to detect if a person is using the device.

Posted on May 11, the video carries a caption with the following claim:

NIRERECORD KA NG IPHONE! Nakita namin sa isang post na nagte-take ng photos of YOU ang iphones (dpa namin natry sa android). Kaya sinubukan namin… Totoo nga!!! Makikita sa infrared na may flashes ang phone.”

(iPhones are recording you! We saw in a post that iPhones take photos of YOU (we haven’t tried this on Android). So we tested it… it’s true! You can see the phone’s flashes through infrared [footage].)

The video shows a person in the dark holding an iPhone while standing beside a baby in a crib. Flashes of infrared light – as captured on video – appear every five seconds when the device is pointed towards the person’s face.

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: THE FACTS. The iPhone’s infrared flashes detect user activity, and do not capture “invisible” photos. This is part of Apple’s TrueDepth camera technology which detects whether someone is using the iPhone.

Apple’s TrueDepth camera supports attention aware features. When turned on, these features automatically adjust screen brightness, lower volume alerts, or turn off the screen depending on device usage, according to a support document.

This feature can be disabled by opening Settings, going to Face ID & Passcode, and disabling Attention Aware features, the document also said.

The misleading video got 1,252 reactions, 204 comments, 300 shares and 927,000 views. Several netizens called out the vlogger for spreading misleading information.

Muntik nko mag overthink malala buti nagbasa ako ng comments (I almost overthought so bad, good thing I read the comments first), a netizen said.

USA Today debunked a similar claim in 2021.

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(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)