TikTok and more than 50 other apps are grabbing the content on your clipboard, making anything you’ve copied much less secure (and that’s not good).
Original image: Unsplash
It’s probably best if you’re super careful with what you copy and paste on your iPhone, or at least learn how to clear it out when you copy something sensitive, like a password or bank account number. A new iOS 14 feature that notifies users every time an app accesses the clipboard shows how many apps are grabbing your clipboard contents without asking.
How it works: A YouTube video shows the little banners that drop down from the top of your iOS screen every time an app pastes your clipboard contents. As Ars Technica notes, the original research was published in March and can include clipboard content from nearby iOS devices, thanks to a Universal Clipboard feature introduced in 2016 with macOS Sierra.
Plenty of apps: While TikTok may be the prime suspect thanks to its popularity, it turns out that there are a ton of apps out there that grab your clipboard information. Included are news apps like NPR and Reuters, games like Fruit Ninja and PUBG Mobile, and other apps like Bed Bath and Beyond.
What to do: There’s not much we can do in terms of making sure the apps won’t copy our clipboard—developers will need to remove the feature from their apps via an update. (Don’t hold your breath, though; TikTok promised The Telegraph to stop doing it, but hasn’t yet.)
What you can do is either stop copying sensitive data to your clipboard or, more likely, learn how to clear it. There’s no official way to delete the contents of your clipboard on any OS, so if you’re on iOS and want to make sure nothing gets out, simply open something with a text field (Notes is nice) and type a couple of spaces, then copy them. That will effectively get rid of whatever was in there.
If you’re an Android user, chances are similar things are happening, too, so maybe keep a clean clipboard there, as well.
Bottom line: It’s likely most apps will fix things in the coming weeks, especially as iOS 14 hits public beta in July. Until then, though, just make sure your clipboard is as pristine as your hands (which you’re washing a lot, right?).