There are a few apps that spy on the iOS clipboard. Thankfully, some of the most popular ones are updating their apps to stop doing that.
Michael Grothaus interviewed Craig Federighi where he talks about iOS 14 privacy features. One feature is restricted access to the system clipboard/pasteboard. Apps will no longer have full access, which was a problem in the past.
Though there isn’t a lot of evidence apps have done this on a wide scale, apps will now require your approval to access the pasteboard for the first time. If a messaging app requests approval, it’s probably legit–but look out if, say, a free gaming app wants to get at your pasteboard.
As regular readers can guess, I’m excited for the new privacy features in iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur.
Researchers found 56 apps that are spying on the iOS clipboard/pasteboard, like TikTok, New York Times, Fruit Ninja, and more. There are undoubtedly many more apps engaging in this behavior. And as I wrote in February, Apple doesn’t think it’s a problem.
We found that many apps quietly read any text found in the pasteboard every time the app is opened. Text left in the pasteboard could be as simple as a shopping list, or could be something more sensitive: passwords, account numbers, etc.
Researchers found that location data can be leaked to apps on iOS and iPadOS via the clipboard. Apple doesn’t see it as a problem.
Dr. Mac says, “While it’s quaint that the Mac Clipboard has remained virtually unchanged for three decades, I’ve never understood why Apple has avoided adding new functionality to the Clipboard. Today’s Macs have plenty of horsepower and can easily manage more than one item at a time on the Clipboard!
Among the updates include image conversion and certain security enhancements.