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Apple’s iOS 14 beta reveals that TikTok and other apps are spying on iPhone users

The notes on yours The Apple iPhone is used to temporarily store data that has been copied from one app and pasted on another app. Only one element of an app can be archived at a time. The problem is that when you copy some important data to the clipboard like a bank account number or a social security number, some apps are able to capture this information from the clipboard.

Even a boring weather app can spy on the iOS clipboard

According to Digital Trends, the first public beta of iOS 1
4 has revealed that TikTok is still accessing its iPhone clipboard by brandishing subscribers. TikTok is the extremely popular short-format video app that has had its share of controversy. Sometimes TikTok was the most popular app in the App Store and the Google Play Store. But the Peterson Institute for International Economics called it a “Huawei size problem” in terms of security concerns. And last November, the parent of Beijing ByteDance Technology Co., father of TikTok, was investigated by the United States government for not being able to purchase $ 1 billion of Musical.ly from the United States Foreign Investment Committee (CFIUS). The latter should investigate the purchase of a US company by a foreign company.
In February, a couple of developers encountered a problem with the copy-paste system in iOS that left sensitive information unprotected. One of the developers who discovered this problem, Tommy Mysk, told Digital Trends that starting from WWDC 2020, the problem has been solved thanks to an iOS 14 feature that shows a banner alert to iPhone users when an app is reading a user’s iPhone notes. The Telegraph reports that when the iOS 14 beta was released earlier this month, users started receiving notifications revealing that apps like AccuWeather, AliExpress, Call of Duty Mobile, Google News, Overstock, Patreon and yes, TikTok. Jeremy Burge, Emojipedia’s “Chief Emoji Officer”, has posted on his Twitter account how often TikTok accesses iPhone notes. The video shows that every one or three touches TikTok was trying to grab the contents of Burge’s notes. Whenever TikTok attempted this act, Jeremy was warned. Another video released by Ryan Jones shows how iOS 14 warns users when their notes are spied on.

Due to the large number of iOS users and its creation by a Chinese company, TikTok is a major concern for some security experts. In March, TikTok told the Telegraph that it would stop spying on iOS users’ notes only to continue the practice three months later. TikTok claims that the type of notes snooping in March is different from what it is doing now. It’s like saying that a criminal who killed someone with a knife is not a serial killer because he used a gun to kill his second victim. Emojipedia’s Burge states that TikTok’s current snooping occurs whenever a user touches a punctuation mark or the space bar while typing. This means that TikTok can spy on the clipboard almost every second, a frightening prospect if you copy sensitive materials using the clipboard on your iPhone.

We are not saying that you should install the first beta version of iOS 14 just for the new feature that will notify you when notes are read by one of your apps. There are still too many bugs to make this update valid for your daily driver. But as soon as the public version of iOS 14 is released, assuming there are no major problems, you may want to install it immediately.

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