If you upgrade to iOS 8, you may accidentally reveal who you’ve been talking to.

Image: Mashable, Christina Ascani
By Pete Pachal2014-09-18 15:33:31 UTC

If you’re an iPhone owner, iOS 8 brings with it a lot of great features, including new kinds of keyboards, a way to see which apps are killing your battery and a smarter Siri. It also gives your phone a new way to rat out who you’ve been talking to.

With iOS 8, the app-switching screen that appears when you double-press the home button now shows a row of your most recent contacts up top. That’s nice and convenient until you exchange texts with an ex, and the contact appears on the screen for all to see.

iOS 8 recents

Recent contacts appear in a strip on the app-switching screen in iOS 8.

Normally, to cover your tracks on a potentially controversial exchange, all you’d need to do is delete the message (or call) from your history. That still works, but as Mashable has discovered, deleting a call or message does not remove the contact from the recents list that appears on the app switcher.

Anyone who sees the screen as you switch apps will know who you’ve been talking to — even if you’ve deleted the actual exchanges. The contact remains there until it moves down the line, as you contact more people.

You can disable your recent contacts from appearing on the app switcher in settings (see below). iOS 8 lets you select either recent contacts, favorites, both (the default) or nothing. Disabling recents will prevent any wandering eyes from finding out who you’re talking to. However, an overly attached girlfriend or boyfriend who’s actively looking for incriminating data could simply re-enable the feature, and the recent contacts will appear.

The alternative is to simply not create a contact for the person’s phone number. If the number you’re messaging or calling isn’t associated with one of your contacts, it won’t appear in the recent contacts on the app switcher.

Mail, Contacts, Calendar > Show In App Switcher.” title=”iOS 8 contacts settings” src=”http://rack.3.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE0LzA5LzE4L2M5L2lvczhjb250YWN0Ljg3OTlmLmpwZwpwCXRodW1iCTEyMDB4OTYwMD4/b83bb549/4c4/ios-8-contacts-settings.jpg” alt=”iOS 8 contacts settings” data-width=”1278″ data-fragment=”m!68b2″ data-image=”http://rack.3.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE0LzA5LzE4L2M5L2lvczhjb250YWN0Ljg3OTlmLmpwZwpwCXRodW1iCTEyMDB4OTYwMD4/b83bb549/4c4/ios-8-contacts-settings.jpg” data-micro=”1″>

To disable showing recent contacts on the app switcher in iOS 8, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar > Show In App Switcher.

In all likelihood, this is an oversight on Apple’s part, and will be fixed in a software update. In the meantime, though, best to keep using Snapchat.

Representatives for Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Additional reporting by Brian Koerber

  1. Swype
  2. [embedded content]
  3. [embedded content]
  4. [embedded content]
  5. [embedded content]

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.