iOS 15 has several important privacy-focused enhancements, such as new protection in the Mail app to prevent tracking, an App Privacy section that shows you how often apps access sensitive information such as location and Siri processing on the device, but there is also some minor but equally important changes.
One of these updates is a new Secure Paste feature for developers, which can be built into apps. With this feature implemented, users can paste anything from another app, with the contents of what is copied hidden, unless it is pasted into the developer’s own app.
If Secure Paste is implemented, users can copy and paste from one app to another without being notified through the clipboard introduced in iOS 14, giving them reassurance that what they have copied is secure.
This feature sounds complicated, but it stems from a major privacy issue that emerged last year. Back in March 2020, it emerged that many iPhone and iPad apps “snooped” on whiteboard data, as developers could access what was on the board without the user being aware of it.
Apps like TikTok, Hotels.com, Reddit, Zillow and others could see what a user was copying from another app, which was a concern because sometimes sensitive information such as a password is copied.
Apple addressed this issue in iOS 14 by implementing a small banner that alerts you when an app accesses the clipboard, which means that apps can no longer see the clipboard without your knowledge. OSIOS 15 takes it further with the secure gluing feature that prevents developers from viewing the clipboard completely, unless you choose to copy something from an app and paste it into the app you are actively using.
With secure glue, developers can let users paste from another app without having access to what was copied until the user takes action to paste it into their app. When developers use secure glue, users can paste without being notified via the transparency notice on the table, giving them security.
After Apple first implemented the iOS 14 feature to detect when apps accessed the clipboard, it was found that many apps copied the clipboard frequently, although some apps like TikTok claimed that this was a bug.