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iOS 14 reveals TikTok still accessing copied text on iPhone’s clipboard

The beta release of Apple’s iOS 14 revealed that TikTok is still accessing the iPhone’s clipboard, months after a pledge to stop the practice.

In February, two software developers found an issue in the copy-paste system of Apple’s iOS that may leave sensitive information vulnerable. Tommy Mysk, one of the developers, told Digital Trends that as of WWDC 2020, the bug has been fixed with a new security feature in the form of a banner alert that informs users when an app is reading the iPhone’s clipboard.

The banner alert has exposed the snooping practices of several apps, The Telegraph reported, naming AccuWeather, AliExpress, Call of Duty Mobile, Google News, Overstock, Patreon, and TikTok.

Emojipedia founder Jeremy Burge showed in a short video uploaded to Twitter just how often TikTok accesses the iPhone’s clipboard.

Okay so TikTok is grabbing the contents of my clipboard every 1-3 keystrokes. iOS 14 is snitching on it with the new paste notification

— Jeremy Burge (@jeremyburge) June 24, 2020

TikTok, which has been previously caught accessing the iPhone’s clipboard whenever the app was open, told The Telegraph in March that it will stop. However, more than three months later, the iOS 14 beta revealed that the app did not keep its promise, adding to the host of security issues that have been discovered in TikTok.

“Following the beta release of iOS 14 on June 22, users saw notifications while using a number of popular apps. For TikTok, this was triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behavior,” a spokesperson for the app told The Verge, adding that an update to remove the feature has been submitted to the App Store. The feature was never rolled out for Android devices.

Digital Trends has reached out to TikTok’s parent company ByteDance for further comments on the matter, in particular why it has taken months and the discovery by the iOS 14 beta for the app to be updated to stop accessing the iPhone’s clipboard.

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