Samsung Messages is sending photos without user permission: report

The bug might be caused by a recent update to the messaging app

The Galaxy S9 in pink

If you own a Samsung Galaxy phone, it may be time to change messaging apps.

A number of reports have surfaced indicating that an issue with the Samsung Messages app — the default texting app — is sending your photos to people on your contact list. If that wasn’t bad enough, Samsung Messages shows no history of those messages. Users don’t realize until the recipient tells them.

The reports started in a Reddit thread, and were later picked up by Android Central, Gizmodo and The Verge. So far, it seems only Galaxy S9, S9+ and Note 8 devices are affected.

According to the Reddit reports, some users are experiencing one of two issues. The first appears to resend all the photos that a user has sent to a specific person. The second — and much worse — case is the entire photo library is sent to a contact.

Potential Causes

While no one has discovered an official cause, it does seem to be related to a recent update to Samsung Messages. Many of the Reddit reports claim the glitch happened after the update. Some are speculating that the bug is related to the new RCS messaging standard.

A recent Samsung forum post outlines other issues with the Samsung Messages app and the recent update. According to the forum post, there are issues with scheduled messages being sent early or showing up in the wrong thread. Additionally, some scheduled messages show as sent when the other party has not received them.

Currently, no direct link appears between the two issues beyond the existence of bugs with the recent RCS update. However, both the Reddit and the Samsung forum issues are connected to U.S. carrier T-Mobile.

Due to that connection, some speculate the carrier is the cause. The carrier just started rolling out RCS last week. Additionally, at least one of the affected devices was on T-Mobile.

However, a T-Mobile spokesperson told The Verge to “check in with Samsung on this, it’s not a T-Mobile issue.”

Samsung told both The Verge and Gizmodo in a comment that it is aware of reports. Furthermore, the South Korean company has technical teams looking into it. Samsung also told them that other devices may be affected. The company is urging any users experiencing the issue to call the company directly at 1-800-SAMSUNG.

Temporary Solutions

Regardless of the cause of the bug, users looking to keep their photos private do have some recourse. Users can disable the app’s access to photos by navigating to Apps in the Settings menu. In Apps, scroll to Samsung Messages and tap it. Select Permissions and tap Storage.

Reports also indicate the Messages app may not work without permission to access storage, so you should probably download an alternative.

Android Messages is free and supports RCS as well. Additionally, the app recently released a new web client that allows users to read and answer messages on a computer.

If you don’t use RCS, or if Android Messages isn’t your thing, a free app called Textra could work as well.

Source: Reddit Via: The Verge

Update 07/03/2018: Samsung Canada replied to us with the following comment: Samsung has reviewed this matter thoroughly these past few days; however, there were no hardware or software issues found to be relevant to this particular case. While there have been no known similar customer reports globally, we will continue to investigate this issue further. We encourage any customers who may have questions or concerns to contact their local Customer Service Centre at 1-800-SAMSUNG.