TikTok App to Stop Accessing User Clipboards After Being Caught in the Act by iOS 14

A new feature in iOS 14 alerts users when apps read the clipboard, and it turns out some apps have been reading clipboard data excessively.

Image via Jeremy Burge

TikTok users who upgraded to ‌iOS 14‌, for example, quickly noticed constant alerts warning them that TikTok was accessing the clipboard every few seconds. After being caught, TikTok now says that it's removing the feature.


In a statement to The Telegraph, TikTok said that it accessed the clipboard to identify spammy behavior.

"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. We have already submitted an updated version of the app to the App Store removing the anti-spam feature to eliminate any potential confusion.

"TikTok is committed to protecting users' privacy and being transparent about how our app works."

An update to remove the feature has already been submitted to the ‌App Store‌, and a download of the new update confirms that TikTok no longer appears to be accessing the clipboard.

TikTok did not say whether the feature would be removed from Android devices, nor whether clipboard data was ever stored or moved from user devices. Other apps have also been called out for reading the clipboard, including Starbucks, Overstock, AccuWeather, several news apps, and more.


Prior to when ‌iOS 14‌ was released, a pair of developers sounded an alarm letting users and Apple know that iPhone and iPad apps were quietly accessing the clipboard. Apple's new ‌iOS 14‌ feature appears to have been added in response, and apps are no longer able to read the clipboard without users knowing exactly what's going on.

‌iOS 14‌ is limited to developers at the current time, but Apple plans to release a public beta version next month ahead of the software's fall launch. Clipboard reporting is just one of the many new privacy features in ‌iOS 14‌, with a full list available in our iOS 14 roundup.

Related Roundups: iOS 14, iPadOS 14

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
18 weeks ago
Exactly why I stay with Apple. Privacy is something they truly care about; to their core.
Score: 135 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 weeks ago
One question I have is why do apps have access to the clipboard AT ALL?

Shouldn't the clipboard only be used when you PASTE something? It seems absurd that there'd be an API for an app to grab the clipboard contents without permission, and yet apparently it's been the case all along.
Score: 76 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 weeks ago
If there were ever an app that needed to be booted from the app store for compromising user privacy, it's Tiktok. It's too bad it's gotten too popular and Apple can no longer give it the boot without massive backlash.

Tiktok is basically a ripoff of Vine. Why the HELL didn't Vine catch on, but Tiktok did? Sigh.
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 weeks ago
If this was a legitimate anti-spam feature, why would they remove it? Oh, because it wasn't and TikTok is a slimey, ****** company.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 weeks ago
I would never, ever, ever, ever, EVER install TikTok.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 weeks ago
Good Job, Apple. Stealing clipboard without user consent is no go.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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