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Samsung phones are spontaneously texting users’ photos to random contacts without their permission

Samsung phones are spontaneously texting users’ photos to random contacts without their permission


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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Bad news for Samsung phone owners: some devices are randomly sending your camera roll photos to your contacts without permission. As first spotted by Android Central and later covered by Gizmodo, users are complaining about the issue on Reddit and the company’s official forums. One user says his phone sent all his photos to his girlfriend. The messages are being sent through Samsung’s default texting app Samsung Messages. According to reports, the Messages app does not even show users that files have been sent; many just find out after they get a response from the recipient of the random photos sent to them.

A Samsung spokesperson tells The Verge it’s “aware of the reports” and that its technical teams are “looking into it.” The forums indicate that Galaxy S9 and S9+ devices are affected, but may not be the only ones afflicted with the bug. Samsung is encouraging those experiencing this issue to call the company directly at 1-800-SAMSUNG.

Some users are speculating that this issue has to do with the push of RCS messaging updates, including T-Mobile, which is the carrier for at least one of the affected phones. T-Mobile just issued its RCS update this week, starting with the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The messaging standard is supposed to make texting look more like chatting in a modern messaging app, complete with read receipts and typing indicators. When reached for comment, a T-Mobile spokesperson told The Verge to “check in with Samsung on this, it’s not a T-Mobile issue.”

For now, Samsung owners can revoke Samsung Message’s permissions to access storage to avoid the bug from sending their files out in the wild.

Update 7/2, 5:08 PM ET: This article initially stated that photos were sent over SMS, but it’s unclear how the photos are being sent. It’s more likely MMS messages or SMS with a link. We have also updated the story with a comment from T-Mobile.