With your iPhone, you can copy data to your clipboard and paste it into other apps. However, an app can read (“paste”) from your clipboard in the background. A feature added in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 notifies you when an app reads your clipboard.
What is the iPhone clipboard?
The clipboard is the temporary location where copied data ̵
If you switch to another app and then paste your copied text, you’ll see a message saying the app you are using was pasted from Safari. If your iPhone or iPad says that an app was pasted from another app, it means that the contents of the clipboard were pasted. It can’t read everything from the other app – just what was copied to the clipboard.
Apps can be inserted without your permission
Here’s why this message was added: Apps can “paste” – that is, access the contents of the clipboard – from the clipboard without actually tapping the “Paste” button and granting explicit permission.
Note that apps can only be pasted when you are actively using them – in other words, when they’re on the screen. For example, let’s say you’re copying text in Safari and switching to the Facebook app. While using the Facebook app, it can read the text copied from Safari. If you switch to the Twitter app and instead have Twitter open on your screen, the Facebook app will not be able to monitor your clipboard because you are not using it.
Before iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, it was not possible to determine when an app was inserted in the background. With this message, you will now see a notification letting you know when an app is reading the contents of your clipboard.
Why pasting is a privacy issue
If you copy private data to your clipboard, you probably don’t know that the apps you use can read from it. For example, if you copy a password or a credit card number and switch to a social media app, that social media app can read the contents of your clipboard and upload your sensitive data to their server.
It doesn’t have to be so shameful either. Some ad networks used in apps may just monitor the clipboard to see what you’re pasting and use this information to target advertisements to you, for example.
The message indicates when apps will be inserted so you can make an informed decision about what to do. If you use an app and find that it is often “pasted” for no reason, you may no longer want to use that app. If you need the app but really don’t trust it, you can be extra careful when you’re not using it – you won’t have any sensitive data on your clipboard when you’re using the app.
App developers don’t want their users to worry about apps that are mysteriously putting data in the background. As a result, many apps that auto-insert data are updated to remove the auto-insertions.
For example, when the message was added in an early developer version of iOS 14, users noticed that TikTok kept reading the contents of the clipboard as they typed. TikTok claimed they never saved the data and released an update to stop reading the clipboard.
Can you prevent pasting apps?
If you’re using an app that keeps inserting for no apparent reason, you might want to revoke the insert permission. Unfortunately, from iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, there is no way to prevent the insertion of an app. There are no options for this under Settings> Privacy.
If you want an app to stop being inserted, you can only uninstall that app or stop using it.
Can you hide the paste banner?
You may want to remove the banner message that pops up when you walk past something. Finally, it will be displayed when you tap on the “Paste” option yourself.
However, there is no way to deactivate the insert notification and stop it from being displayed – at least not after the release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. If an app inserts data for any reason, the message is displayed.
Good news: iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 offer a new feature for apps that can be used to reduce unintentional pastes. For example, suppose an app wants to automatically add web addresses to your clipboard, but other data is ignored. Now the app developer can update the app to ask the system if there is a web address on the clipboard. If not, the app will not take any action and no messages will be displayed. If so, the app can paste the URL and a notification will pop up to paste it.