July 15, 2024

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Specialists in technology

Reddit and LinkedIn to stop copying iPhone clipboards

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Reddit and LinkedIn are changing their apps to prevent them from looking at the Apple iPhone clipboard.

In a developer trial of the latest update to the phone’s operating system, iOS 14, users are notified whenever an app accesses the device’s copied text.

The notification exposed frequent scanning of the clipboard by apps that many users thought should not need to do so.

The two firms follow TikTok in changing their apps amid the criticism.

A senior exec at LinkedIn tweeted that the code which enabled this had now been removed, while Reddit said it would release a fix next week.

“We tracked this down to a codepath in the post composer that checks for URLs in the pasteboard and then suggests a post title based on the text contents of the URL,” Reddit told tech site The Verge.

It added that it did not store or receive the clipboard contents, and said the fix would be released on Tuesday 14 July.

Meanwhile Erran Berger, LinkedIn’s vice president of consumer products, replied to a tweet from someone who noticed that the app was asking to look at the clipboard with “every keystroke”.

Mr Berger responded that the app was conducting an “equality check” to see if what was on the clipboard was the same as what was being written on the app, but did not elaborate on this.

He also said LinkedIn did not store or receive the data, and said a new update on the Apple App Store removed the code.

Last month TikTok said it had sought Apple iPhone clipboard content in order to prevent “repetitive, spammy behaviour”, and it has now removed the function.

In research published in March, Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk identified dozens of apps which they said had accessed the clipboard.

At the time Apple said it did not think it was a vulnerability.

There are legitimate reasons why an app needs clipboard access – for example, in order to share a website address with a message platform, or to grab a password from a password manager and paste it into a password-protected service.

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