Thanks to the clipboard privacy feature on the beta version of iOS 14, users noticed that several apps such as TikTok, LinkedIn, and Reddit copy data from clipboard contents with every keystroke on iOS devices. After the issue was raised on social media, the aforementioned apps said that they would fix the code in their iOS app. Over 50 apps, including TikTok, PUBG Mobile, Fruit Ninja, Weibo, Viber, and New York Times were also noted showing the same behaviour where they copy universal clipboard data as a potential breach in privacy. Reddit and LinkedIn offered explanations on the problem and announced that a fix will be brought in soon.
Earlier this month, Twitter user @DonCubed noticed this issue on LinkedIn, where the professional networking app was repeatedly caught copying from the clipboard of his MacBook Pro. Responding to the same, LinkedIn Engineering Vice President Erran Berger tweeted that this was an issue with a code path which “does an equality check between the clipboard contents and the currently typed content in a text box.” Although he clarified that none of the content is stored or transmitted, the reason for the check was not explained. Berger further revealed that LinkedIn would follow up once the fix is live.
Hi @DonCubed. Appreciate you raising this. We've traced this to a code path that only does an equality check between the clipboard contents and the currently typed content in a text box. We don't store or transmit the clipboard contents.— Erran Berger (@eberger45) July 3, 2020
The user also pointed out that Reddit does a similar action where it captures data on every keystroke. He posted a video showcasing the same. As a response, a spokesperson from the social networking platform told The Verge that the issues was tracked down to a codepath which “checks for URLs in the pasteboard and then suggests a post title based on the text contents of the URL.” The statement also clarified that the contents are not stored or shared. “We removed this code and are releasing the fix on July 14th.”
In June, TikTok was called out for doing the same and the Chinese video-sharing social networking app soon announced that the problem was fixed. Similarly, several popular apps were found snooping on clipboard contents, including the likes of TrueCaller, PhonePe, Voot, and more.
WWDC 2020 had a lot of exciting announcements from Apple, but which are the best iOS 14 features for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.