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Why are iPhone apps pasting from other apps?



A banner that says Spotify is pasted from Chrome on an iPhone

On your iPhone, you can copy data to your clipboard and paste it into other apps. However, an app can read (“paste”) from your clipboard in the background. A feature added to iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 notifies you when an app reads clippings.

What is iPhone Clipboard?

Clipboard is the temporary place where copied data ̵

1; text, images or anything else – is stored when you “copy” it. For example, if you select text on this web page and press “Copy”, the selected text will be copied to the clipboard.

If you switch to another app and then paste your copied text, a message will appear stating that the app you are using has been pasted from Safari. When your iPhone or iPad says that an app has been pasted from another app, it means that it pasted the contents of the Clipboard. It can not read just anything from the other app – only what has been copied to the Clipboard.

Copy text in a browser on iPhone

Apps can paste without your permission

This is why this message was added: Apps can “paste” from the Clipboard – in other words, access the contents of the Clipboard – without actually pressing the “Paste” button and giving explicit permission.

Note that apps can only paste when you use them actively – in other words when they are on the screen. For example, let’s say you copy some text in Safari and switch to the Facebook app. While using the Facebook app, it can read the text you copied from Safari. If you switch to the Twitter app and have Twitter open on the screen instead, the Facebook app can not monitor your clipboard because you do not use it.

Before iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, there was no way to tell when an app was pasted into the background. With this message, you now see a notification that tells you when an app reads the content on the clipboard.

Why paste is a privacy issue

A

If you copy private data to your clipboard, you are probably not aware that the apps you use can read from it. For example, if you copy a password or credit card number and switch to a social media app, the social media app can read the contents of the clipboard and upload your sensitive data to their server.

It does not have to be so shameful either. Some ad networks used in apps can only monitor clippings to see what you are pasting and use that information to target ads to you, for example.

The message tells you when apps are pasted so you can make an informed decision about what to do. If you use an app and notice that it often “sticks” for no reason, you may want to stop using that app – or, if you need the app but really do not trust it, you can just be extra careful that you do not have sensitive data in the clipboard when using the app.

App developers do not want their users to worry about apps mysteriously pasting data into the background, so many apps that automatically paste data are updated to remove the automatic pastes.

For example, when the message was added to an early developer version of iOS 14, people noticed that TikTok was constantly reading the contents of the clipboard when people wrote. TikTok claimed that it never stored data and released an update to stop reading clippings.

Can you stop apps from pasting?

If you use an app that continues to paste for no apparent reason, you may want to revoke its sticking right. Unfortunately, starting with iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, there is no way to stop an app from pasting. You will not find any options for this under Settings> Privacy.

If you want an app to stop pasting, you can just uninstall or stop using the infringing app.

Can you hide Paste Banner?

You may want to get rid of the banner message that appears when you pass something – after all, it appears when you press “Paste” yourself.

However, there is no way to disable the sticky message and prevent it from appearing – not when iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 were released. When an app pastes data for any reason, you will see the message.

Good news: iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 offer a new feature for apps that can reduce accidental adhesions. Let’s say an app wants to automatically paste URLs into the clipboard, but it does not care about other data. Now the app developers can update the app so that it asks the system “Is there a URL in the Clipboard?” If not, the app does nothing and no messages are displayed. If available, the app can paste the URL and you will see a paste notification.




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