The other day, it was reported that popular music app TikTok was snooping on the clipboards of iOS users. This is actually thanks to a new feature in iOS 14 in which it will notify users whenever an app accesses their device’s clipboard. Now upon further investigation, TikTok is not alone in doing this.
Speaking to ArsTechnica, researchers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk revealed that TikTok was not alone in snooping on the clipboard, and that more than 50 popular iOS apps were equally as guilty. This includes news apps such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Fox News, as well as games like Fruit Ninja and PUBG Mobile. Social media apps were also found to be doing this like Viber and Weibo.
According to Mysk, “It’s very, very dangerous. These apps are reading clipboards, and there’s no reason to do this. An app that doesn’t have a text field to enter text has no reason to read clipboard text.” While we’re not sure why these apps might be trying to access your clipboard is unclear.
However, as far as TikTok is concerned, the company justified it by saying that it was done to prevent spam, and later promised that they would be removing this feature. We imagine that for the most part, these apps aren’t accessing your clipboard for malicious reasons, but even so as Mysk points out, there really isn’t any reason why they should be accessing it in the first place.