TikTok and 32 other iOS Apps stealing data from your clipboard

Apple Apps Stealing Data From Your Phone

There is an allegation that apps stealing data from phone.  Apple’s commitment to the privacy and security for its users often faces roadblocks in the analytics and behavioral research used by third party app publishers on the company’s App Store. iOS 14 features a banner warning whenever an app reads clipboard contents on your device. This has allowed for unprecedented checking of text collection by third party apps.

Though originally discovered back in March and reaffirmed by multiple tech news sites in June, the issue persists even though July of 2020 and the publishing of this story.

Emojipedia employee Jeremy Burge demonstrated this behavior present in TikTok using the iOS 14 beta back in June.

Burge lists out the steps to reproduce this siphoning behavior in iOS 14:

“1. Have something on your clipboard (copy some text from Notes or a website)
2. Open TikTok and start typing in any text field
3. You learn from iOS 14 each time an app “pastes” – but in this instance I didn’t request it, and none of that text appears in UI”

The March report listed out apps that accessed text from iOS devices’ universal clipboards, and also published an updated list on June 30th, 2020 that shows apps that have patched out this behavior. However, as of July 30th, 2020, many notable apps, including NPR News, Bejeweled, AccuWeather, and overstock, continue to collect this data. The updated report mentions that the list is not exhaustive, with the list comprising of “a sample of popular apps” that have demonstrated “excessive clipboard access.”


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