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Why apps in Mountain Lion might need to see your address data

In OS X Mountain Lion, Apple has added extra protection around the address book and restricted apps from gaining access to the contents without a user's permission. This added security is beneficial for users, but it poses a communication problem for developers who need to access the address book for feedback or crash reports, says Daniel Jalkut in a post on his Red Sweater blog.

Developers who generate a bug report or feedback request within their app must deal with the foreboding dialog shown above when they try to populate the fields of a contact form using data contained in the "Me" card. Not only does the dialog confuse the user, it also makes it appear that the app is doing something nefarious when it's actually not.

Working off a tip from Panic founder Cabel Sasser, Jalkut has devised a way to add a friendly tone to the dialog that'll explain to users why the app needs to pull information from the address book. According to Jalkut, you can modify the Info.plist file and add a string for the NSContactsUsageDescription key. This key will tell the user why the app needs the contact information and will appear the first time the app tries to gain access to the address book.

You can read more about this solution on Jalkut's Red Sweater blog and in the documentation on Apple's website.

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