Confide Introducing New 'ScreenShield' SDK That Will Allow Developers to 'Screenshot-Proof' Their Apps

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Private and secure messaging app Confide is gaining an interesting new feature that will successfully prevent its users from taking a screenshot within the app, and the team behind Confide is also planning to release the anti-screenshot technology as an SDK that can be used by other app developers.

    Called ScreenShieldKit, the new SDK prevents screenshots, screen recording, QuickTime recording, Screen mirroring, Xcode screenshots, and viewing an app's contents in the App Switcher on both the iPhone and the iPad.

    There is no dedicated API to stop screenshots from being taken in iOS like there is in Android, so ScreenShieldKit is using a whiteout feature instead. In an app that has ScreenShieldKit enabled, screenshots taken are a blank aside from a single status bar at the top. The same goes for recordings.

    Apple does have a feature that prevents screenshots from being taken in apps that stream video content from a server, such as Netflix and iTunes, but since Confide does not stream from a server, Confide's developers tell us it took quite a bit of tweaking and work to develop ScreenShieldKit.


    The Confide team used a "collection of technologies" to get ScreenShieldKit to work, and they believe they're the first to come up with this screenshot proofing concept on iOS devices. ScreenShieldKit uses only public APIs, and no private APIs, and it's a seamless experience for end users.

    The current version of the Confide confidential messaging app already protects against screenshots by revealing just one line of text at a time, but the new ScreenShield feature is being implemented into the app to provide even more robust screenshot protection.

    In the Confide app, ScreenShield will make it so any screenshot captured will show no message content. Confide also already uses end-to-end encryption and erases messages after they've been viewed to provide a secure messaging platform.

    While Confide's ScreenShield feature will prevent on-device screenshots, there is, of course, no way to stop people from taking a photo of an iPhone's screen with a secondary device. Still, for on-device use, it's a solid solution that many developers may be interested in adopting.

    Confide is offering the ScreenShieldKit feature to developers, with more information available on the ScreenShieldKit website.

    The Confide app, with ScreenShield built in, can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

    Article Link: Confide Introducing New 'ScreenShield' SDK That Will Allow Developers to 'Screenshot-Proof' Their Apps
  2. nt5672 macrumors 68000

    Jun 30, 2007
    Great, so an app can now keep the device owner from creating screen grabs on the device they own? I certainly hope this is completely user configurable, otherwise it is a complete fail.
  3. vaxes macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2012
    Enough is enough.
    if I pay $1k+ for a phone you better believe i want to be able to take a screen shot on said device.

  4. tzm41 macrumors regular


    Jul 11, 2014
    If your messages are so sensitive, consider more secure media than mobile messaging?
  5. convergent macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2008
    I think this is marketed to developers so they can prevent the user from doing what they want. Like every other attempt to prevent "copying", this will create complexity and be defeated like all the others.
  6. tkukoc, Jan 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018

    tkukoc macrumors 65816


    Sep 16, 2014
    Wish I Was In Space!
    I could easily see snapchat/facebook/twitter using this going forward.. or any social media app in general. Definitely can see youtube as well. They'll claim security enhancement to protect users, they always say that.o_O

    Also, developers could put this into their application and charge for an unlock. Assuming they have a way to set that up.. I bet they do. More revenue for developers, while ticking off their user base.

    Apple does get on developers who do this type of stuff so it's quite possible it gets blocked all together. If this interferes with how the system is designed it won't go well for these guys. And of course don't forget, same company that claimed their messenger was secure and people were taking screenshots of private conversations. Which is why this is now made available, they are trying to get users back.
  7. spazzcat macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2007
    So I can use someone else phone to take a photo or stick my phone on copier. You can't stop people from screen capturing.
  8. thisisnotmyname macrumors 68000


    Oct 22, 2014
    known but velocity indeterminate
    point second camera at screen, take photo. Done.

    edit: all these copy protection measures forget the simple fact that if the recipient can see the data they can find a way to reproduce it. Making it less convenient doesn't stop it. Case in point, the continued market for people who take camcorders into movie theaters and make barely watchable reproductions. Bottom line, is you snap a lewd to someone expect that there will always be a way they can capture it and later retransmit.
  9. M.PaulCezanne macrumors 6502a


    Mar 5, 2014
    Hmm... makes me wonder if Apple tests apps to make sure they can’t take screenshots or record video without the user knowing. One would think they do, but...

  10. drewyboy macrumors 65816

    Jan 27, 2005
    So because something is possible on their daily use device and you're for some reason against this option, you're telling them to get a different device? How messed up is that.
  11. Schwyz, Jan 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018

    Schwyz macrumors regular


    Apr 6, 2016
    Up a tree
    Apple will not allow this when it attracts their attention.

    If they were okay with devs limiting screenshotting, they would have simply created an API for it. It's too easy for them.

    EDIT: It seems this company has wasted its time.
  12. bbplayer5 macrumors 68030

    Apr 13, 2007
    So just take a camera and take a picture of your damn phone. If someone really wants to show off what you said to them on the screen, there are other ways.
  13. axantas macrumors 6502


    Jun 29, 2015
    ...waiting for the sdk that inhibits phonecalls or things alike with my phone :confused:
  14. mikecorp Suspended


    Mar 20, 2008
  15. Alisstar macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    I'll stop using any app that prevents me from taking screenshots. I hope no developer thinks this is a good idea, because in my opinion, it is not.
  16. OldSchoolMacGuy Suspended


    Jul 10, 2008
    NSA, FBI, and every other organization of that type uses smartphones. It's a very secure medium when configured correctly.
  17. macduke macrumors G4


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    I think this is probably meant more for apps that have copyrighted material. Would be great for photography apps. The iPhone X display is such high resolution that you can take a screenshot of someone’s photo, crop it, and republish it as your own. As a photographer I hate watermarking things but I’ve also seen my work stolen before. If an app doesn’t have APIs or a web view then this could effectively prevent copying photos because a photo of a display will look far worse when uploaded.
  18. tzm41 macrumors regular


    Jul 11, 2014
    I don't actually understand your stance here. Could you elaborate?
    --- Post Merged, Jan 10, 2018 ---
    Are these phones all screenshot-proof?
  19. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    The obvious fact that you are able to take a picture of the screen or even record it using other devices means this "feature" is more of a hinderance and nuisance than it is actually a security enhancement
  20. AppleFan91 macrumors 68000


    Sep 11, 2012
    Indy, US
    I hope this doesn’t make it. One weird quirk I don’t like in Android is that apps can disable screenshots. Chase bank does this so if I try and screenshot, it tells me no. On iOS, they can’t do that. I hope it fails because screenshotting is a handy feature
  21. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    What am I missing? I'm using a secure messaging app, conversing with someone else, and I opt to take a screen shot for reasons that I deem necessary but I cannot because the app I'm using feels its a security risk to capture my own conversation with someone? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  22. honam1021 macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2012
    Won't stop skilled hackers from creating patched IPAs to bypass the protection since everyone can sideload modified/non-App Store apps since iOS 9 by taking advantage of Apple's free developer program.
  23. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    I wouldn't mind one that let me set phone calls to just show as an easily dismissed banner, since Notifications doesn't honor the setting. It's quite annoying to have a phone call get in the way when you are trying to navigate via GPS, MMS, snap a picture, surf the web, listen to music or use some other app. You can lose your train of thought. If you decline the call the caller knows they got booted to voicemail.

    True it is a phone. For many people that is no longer the primary function. It is a personal computing device with phone call capabilities. An annoyance they use occasionally when necessary.
  24. tobefirst macrumors 68040


    Jan 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO

    A lot of others in this thread couldn't envision a use for this, so they automatically think it is a stupid idea. I didn't jump to your use case, but I am open minded enough to believe that there might be a use I wasn't considering.
  25. zorinlynx macrumors 603


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    Soon you won't be able to save stuff online that you like. Everything will be ephemeral.

    DRM is evil.

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