Screen recording and keystrokes

Chat about the original Pixelmator.
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2019-12-02 06:59:59

Probably doesn't matter, but I just realized I put this in the wrong forum (Pixelmator Photo vs Pixelmator)...

I just used Pixelmator for the first time after upgrading to Catalina, and I received two popups. One requesting for permission to access screen recording, and the other saying the Pixelmator would like to receive keystrokes from any application. Is there an explanation for this? I can't imagine any reason why Pixelmator would need either of those things. I'm super creeped out.

I know there were a lot of security upgrades in Catalina, like asking for permission for programs to use screen recording and input monitoring. Does this mean before I upgraded, Pixelmator was doing this quietly in the background. I really hope there's a good explanation for this.
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2019-12-02 09:46:03

Hi Tony.
You should be creeped out. My copy of Pixelmator (version 3.9 on macOS 10.15.1) isn't requesting those permissions.
While it is possible that there is an innocent explanation (edit: something like remote controlling your mac from elsewhere), it is also possible that there is a malign one (that your Pixelmator package has been hijacked by an invader on your Mac). I'm not saying that this is the case but my gut feel would be to batton down the hatches anyway.
I'm no security expert but my advice would be to power the Mac down and, using another computer that you believe to be uncompromised (or your phone) changing your important passwords immediately. You know the ones. Mainly the ones for email accounts that you use to reset other passwords. If your bank has an identity theft department, it might be useful to contact them to see if you should be taking any other measures.
It's possible that there's an innocent explanation so I'd also recommend firing off an email to and asking if this is something that your copy of Pixelmator is doing. Version numbers will be important here.
Good luck, stay safe and let's hope that this is something trivial and innocent. Let us all know how it turns out?
- Stef.
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2019-12-02 10:47:23

Thanks Stef. Sent off an email to Pixelmator support, and I have a call scheduled with Apple support. Hopefully I get a satisfying answer. I really hope my copy of the software wasn’t hacked. I’ve had Pixelmator on older versions of OSX for years. If someone’s stealing my personal info, they have everything.
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2019-12-02 11:13:13

Woah woah woah, hold your horses here. Nothing has been hacked, this issue appeared in macOS Catalina and we included a fix in Pixelmator 3.9, which Stef has. Tony, your version must be somewhat older. The short answer is, Pixelmator was looking for keyboard shortcuts with too wide a scope under the new hardened runtime requirements, hence the keystrokes pop-up and the color picker would work to pick colors outside the bounds of the UI, which was being interpreted as a screen-recording feature. In Pixelmator 3.9, we fixed the keystroke thing and the screen recording thing and everything is fine.

To alleviate any budding conspiracy theories, you're free to search the web for info about these two alerts for other image editing and graphics apps, and you'll find everyone was plagued by the same issue.
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2019-12-02 11:23:58

Thanks Andrius. That’s a HUGE relief.

And yes, I’m running an older version. I’ll be sure to update.
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2019-12-02 11:46:41

by Tony2000 2019-12-02 08:25:09 Thanks Andrius. That’s a HUGE relief.

And yes, I’m running an older version. I’ll be sure to update.
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2019-12-02 12:35:42

Glad to hear it. Hope I didn't cause too much panic.

- Stef.
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2019-12-02 15:24:17

by st3f 2019-12-02 12:35:42 Hope I didn't cause too much panic.
I hope so too!
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2019-12-03 04:38:24

Hi Andrius,
So I updated to 3.9, but Pixelmator is still listed under Input Monitoring and Screen Recording in the System Prefs > Security & Privacy pane. It's unchecked, but should it be listed there at all? I've rebooted, still there.

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2019-12-05 09:17:21

Once the request comes in, apps are added to the list and there doesn't seem to be a mechanism for getting them removed without deleting the app. Once I uninstalled Pixelmator, it was no longer listed in Privacy and when the (updated) version was reinstalled, the request didn't come in.