TikTok says it spies on iOS clipboard data to protect the iPhone users against spam; promises to fix it in next version
Ever since Apple released its latest iteration of the iPhone operating system, iOS 14, the clipboard data spying has become huge news. As you all know the iOS 14 for iPhones introduced a new warning feature that lets users know when an app accesses content in the clipboard. Ever since this feature got public, many top and high profile Apps were found spying on iPhone users clipboard data and among them was TikTok.
Many of the Apps found to be spying on the Clipboard data may actually have a good reason for it like a package tracker app can be able to automatically import your tracking codes if they’re copied to the clipboard or some Apps save you the trouble of entering the login code by directly copying it from the clipboard. But TikTok has no such reason!.
iPhone users found that TikTok was reading the clipboard data on iOS and for no reason. TikTok is a video App that lets users upload or view 30-sec videos. It doesn’t have any business spying or copying the clipboard data. When this was anomaly was pointed out to TikTok, the company says it’s just doing it for users’ own good. In other words, TikTok needs to check out your clipboard because it wants to protect against spam.
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 to The Telegraph.
TikTok accepts spying on iPhone clipboard but It doesn’t make it clear how exactly how it can protect iPhone users against spam. It is not a security App neither it is a data aggregating App like Google or Facebook, so how exactly does it protect users?
Remember, the content stored on any clipboard is very sensitive. Sometimes users copy banking passwords or social media/email passwords to their clipboards in order to paste it into the site. TikTok was caught spying on the iPhone clipboard data every few seconds by Jeremy Burge of Emojipedia discovered that TikTok actually accesses the clipboard data every few seconds when typing.
The alternative possibility is TikTok stealing what is on my clipboard every single time I type a keystroke.
I don't have a way to know for sure. Thought it worth putting out there.
— Jeremy Burge (@jeremyburge) June 24, 2020
TikTok to fix the iPhone clipboard spying issue
Now that it’s been caught spying on iPhone users’ clipboard data, TikTok says it’s working on fixing this issue. After saying it was to protect iPhone users from spam, TikTok now says that an update would be released to remove the spying feature.
TikTok says that the next version of the App containing the fix is already submitted for approval in the App Store. The current version of TikTok on the Apple store for iOS is v16.6.0, and it’s been published on June 24.