What you need to know
- iOS 14 users are notified whenever an app reads what's on the clibpoard.
- Android 12 looks set to offer the same feature later this year.
Apple's iOS 14 has long notified users of iPhones and iPads whenever an app reads their clipboard. It's an important security feature and it keeps developers and their apps honest. It's such a good idea that Google now looks set to copy and paste it itself – bringing it to Android 12 later this year.
According to a new leak by XDA Developers, the feature will be part of the Android 12 release that's coming later this year. It'll work, and look, just like the iOS 14 version of the same feature. But there'll be one important difference – Android will allow users to turn the notifications off if they want to. That's something Apple doesn't do.
One of the significant privacy-related changes in Android 10 was the blocking of clipboard access in the background. Since Android 10, apps can no longer read the contents of the clipboard if they aren't in the foreground or they aren't set as the default keyboard app. If the app is in the foreground, though, it can continue to read the clipboard like before.
In Android 12, Google is testing a new "show clipboard access" toggle under Settings > Privacy that, when enabled, will show a toast message whenever an app reads the clipboard. This is a small change but will be useful in alerting you when an app you're using is accessing the clipboard.
Many, many apps have been caught out reading clipboards for reasons that don't stack up to scrutiny and it's great to see Google following Apple's lead here. In fact, I'd like to see that work both ways and for Apple to add a similar ability to disable the feature in iOS 15, too.