Recently it became known that the Chinese app TikTok under iOS 14 accesses the contents of the clipboard without being asked. Now it has become known that the apps Reddit and LinkedIn also do this. Both announced that they want to end the practice.
So far Reddit and LinkedIn access all cached content on iPhones. This is noticeable because users are informed about such accesses under iOS 14 – but without being able to prevent them. LinkedIn’s reaction to the accusations was contradictory: While the company told ZDnet that there was a technical error, Erran Berger, Vice President Engineering, announced on Twitter that access was deliberate in order to be able to compare the text entered in the text field with the text stored in the clipboard. Berger also pointed out that no such content is stored or transmitted. Furthermore it was announced that this function will be eliminated with the next update.
Reddit immediately admitted that they had intentionally accessed the clipboard. In this way, it was intended to determine text suggestions: URLs stored in the clipboard were systematically searched for possible titles for Reddit contributions. However, the contents of the clipboard were neither stored nor transmitted by Reddit.
TikTok, which was the first company to be noticed, claimed to access the clipboard to prevent spam-like behavior. It remains to be seen whether other apps will become conspicuous in this respect. If further companies access the clipboard without being asked, iOS will also inform the users.
In this context, it is also interesting to note that the clipboards of different Apple devices that are connected to each other via an account are synchronized. This means that when LinkedIn is accessed via an iPhone, for example, not only the iPhone clipboard but also content located on the clipboard of a connected iPad or MacBook will be transferred to LinkedIn. Of course, this is only the case if the devices run on a shared account.