Full Access: Why We Need It

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Recently, we submitted an update of Minuum to the App Store that includes several new themes and languages.

To use any of these new languages and themes, however, you will have to allow Minuum to have something called Full Access. There has been a lot of confusion of exactly what this is, which is reasonable, because it’s seriously confusing and ambiguous. When you go to the settings and attempt to give a keyboard Full Access, you’re shown the following prompt:

Full access allows the developer of this keyboard to transmit anything you type, including things you have previously typed with this keyboard. This could include sensitive information such as your credit card number or street address.

Full Access seems scary because it can be abused. A keyboard app with Full Access enabled has the ability to collect information about what you type. But Full Access does not mean that the app will collect sensitive personal information at all, just that it could if it wanted to. At Minuum, we choose not to.

We’d love to not have to ask for Full Access at all, but Apple unfortunately requires this for some very simple functionality. To understand why, you can think of the Minuum keyboard extension as a separate app from the main Minuum app. The Minuum app is where you can change settings, choose a new keyboard theme, or set up multiple languages. But the keyboard can’t communicate with the main app unless it reads and writes to a shared preferences file, which is only allowed with Full Access.

This restriction makes sense, otherwise a malicious keyboard without full access could still sneak sensitive data into a shared file for the main app to upload to the cloud. It’s a complicated issue, but the fact remains that we’ll need to keep asking for Full Access until Apple figures out a more understandable solution.

We totally get why it would be scary to give an app you’ve used Full Access to a device filled with your personal information. We as app users ask the same questions when we download something new. We take privacy very seriously, and carefully design Minuum with privacy in mind. If you ever have any concerns with our approach to privacy, our privacy policy, or our use of Full Access, please reach out to us at support@minuum.com