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An article says that iOS apps have been caught reading data from user's clipboards:

researchers found the following iOS apps were reading users’ clipboard data every time the app was opened with no clear reason for doing so:

  • ABC News — com.abcnews.ABCNews
  • Al Jazeera English — ajenglishiphone
  • CBC News — ca.cbc.CBCNews
  • CBS News — com.H443NM7F8H.CBSNews
  • CNBC — com.nbcuni.cnbc.cnbcrtipad
  • Fox News — com.foxnews.foxnews

(51 more apps not shown for brevity)

Question

Are all iOS apps able to read the iPhone clipboard, and if so, how can I get a list of which apps are doing it, and be notified each time they do it?

Also note

By extension, macOS's 'handoff' feature allows apple devices share clipboards when within 10 feet of each other. So in addition to being able to read the iPhone's clipboard, are these iOS apps also able to read the user's MacBook's clipboard (whenever it's within 10 feet, as demonstrated in the youtube link below)?

  • This demonstrates how an iOS app with access to the clipboard can read not only the clipboard on the iPhone/iPad, but also on any MacBook or Mac within 10 feet (via 'handoff', which is 'On' by default on macOS devices).
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  • 1
    Does this answer your question? How to secure macOS's clipboard?
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 22 '21 at 16:47
  • @Tetsujin I hadn't come across that question/answer before posting this, but it was extremely interesting, albeit almost four years old (and a touch speculative). But most importantly, it's asking about macOS - this question is asking about iOS.
    – stevec
    Feb 22 '21 at 16:53
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    Ah, my bad. I was sure we had a similar one for iOS, can't seem to find it right now.
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 22 '21 at 17:15
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    @stevec There is an interesting related thread here: schneier.com/blog/archives/2020/06/iphone_apps_ste.html
    – DDC
    Aug 30 '21 at 16:28
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Any iOS can always access the clipboard, there isn't really a way to prevent this from happening. Recent iOS versions show a little info box at the top of the screen when this happens so you should be at least aware if an app does this "in the background".

PS: An app can not access clipboards on other devices. What happens with Handoff is that the clipboards are synced across devices by the OSes (macOS and iOS) in the background so that at the moment an app access the clipboard it may get the content you just copied into it a few seconds ago on your Mac.

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