It’s Not Just TikTok Spying on Your iOS Clipboard

By Tegan Jones on at

Back in March TikTok was busted for accessing iOS clipboards. Despite promises to stop this, iOS 14 revealed that it’s still happening. But it’s not just TikTok – more than 50 other iPhone apps are also guilty of the practice.

This issue came about again due to new privacy features in the iOS 14 beta. The OS detects when an app accesses the clipboard and subsequently alerts the user.

“Following the beta release of iOS14 on June 22, users saw notifications while using a number of popular apps,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement.

“For TikTok, this was triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behaviour. We submitted an updated version of the app to the App Store removing the anti-spam feature to eliminate any potential confusion.”

iOS clipboard impacted apps

As it turns out, this is happening a lot more than anyone realised. The guilty apps span a variety of genres, including news and games. This YouTube clip shows the app snooping in action.

Here’s a list of iOS apps  researchers have discovered to be engaging in the practice so far:

  • 10% Happier: Meditation
  • 5-0 Radio Police Scanner
  • 8 Ball Pool
  • ABC News (U.S.)
  • AMAZE!!!
  • Accuweather
  • Al Jazeera English
  • AliExpress Shopping App
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Bejeweled
  • Block Puzzle
  • CBC News
  • CBS News
  • CNBC
  • Classic Bejeweled
  • Classic Bejeweled HD
  • Dazn
  • FlipTheGun
  • Fox News
  • Fruit Ninja
  • Golfmasters
  • Hotel Tonight
  • Hotels.com
  • Letter Soup
  • Love Nikki
  • My Emma
  • NPR
  • New York Times
  • News Break
  • Overstock
  • PUBG Mobile
  • Pigment – Adult Coloring Book to Color
  • Plants vs Zombies Heroes
  • Pooking – Billiards City
  • Reuters
  • Russia Today
  • Sky Ticket
  • Stern Nachrichten
  • The Economist
  • The Huffington Post
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The Weather Network
  • TikTok
  • ToTalk
  • Tomb of the Mask
  • Tomb of the Mask: Color
  • Total Party Killer
  • Truecaller
  • Viber
  • Vice News
  • Watermarbling
  • Weibo
  • Zoosk
  • ntv Nachricten

 Security concerns

So many apps having access to iOS clipboard data is a huge security concern. In addition to personal information, it’s worth remembering how often users copy sensitive data like passwords and even cryptocurrency addresses.

And the problem isn’t localised to one device.

Apple’s universal clipboard functionality enables users to share clipboards across devices that share the same Apple ID.

This means that users can conveniently copy and paste information between their devices. But it also enables the above apps to read anything copied to the universal clipboard, even if they are only installed on one device.

It is currently unclear whether the Android versions of these apps behave in a similar way.

Featured image: Getty