Remember when Path and a few other iOS apps got busted earlier this year for quietly uploading your contacts to their servers, and Apple was rightfully criticized for letting them, and then Apple announced it would require explicit user permission by presenting a dialog when apps tap into your contacts?
Well, Apple learned its lesson and now imposes those same restrictions, and presents the same dialog, in Mountain Lion, except the dialog can get triggered for just about any reason. If an app has a support contact form and cleverly pre-populates the “from” and “address” fields with details from the user’s contact card, the dialog will appear stating “X app would like to access your contacts.” It’s an extremely broad, vauge hammer to hit what is typically a very small, focused, and innocuous nail.
Fortunately, Jalkut has detailed what seems like a fairly simply way developers can add some reassuring details to the contacts request dialog. An extra sentence to elaborate on the reason for tapping users’s contacts data can go a long way towards heading off privacy concerns and support requests at the pass.