A new iOS 14 beta feature reveals popular video-sharing app TikTok accesses clipboard on iPhones in the background.
Apple’s iOS 14 update is set to bring a slew of new privacy features which include revealing which app is accessing what in the background. It also includes a pop-up when a third-party app accesses the clipboard, which essentially is a temporary store for copied text and other content. The clipboard feature is available on a variety of smartphones including the iPhone.
Emojipedia’s Jeremy Burge was the first to report TikTok’s clipboard access. He also posted a screen recording, which showed multiple pop-ups as he typed on Instagram. “TikTok pasted from Instagram,” read the pop-ups.
TikTok was quick to respond to the issue and said it will stop reading iPhone users’ clipboard.
According to The Telegraph, the company will do away with the practice “within a few weeks.” Interestingly, TikTok had promised to remove the clipboard access way back in March.
TikTok further said that the feature was initially aimed at identifying spammy behaviour.
“For TikTok, this was triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behaviour. We have already submitted an updated version of the app to the App Store removing the anti-spam feature to eliminate any potential confusion,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement to The Telegraph. “TikTok is committed to protecting users privacy and being transparent about how our app works.”
The report comes at a time when TikTok is already under scanner over its data and privacy practices. Earlier this month, the European Union’s data regulators set up a task force to investigate the company’s data processing activities. So far, TikTok has faced multiple bans in various countries as well as a hefty penalty in the US. The app, however, has continued to grow in popularity.