Thursday, October 6, 2022
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iOS 16 would like your permission to paste, and paste again, and also to paste (hey, want to paste?)

“Messages would like to paste from Safari,” iOS 16 says. “Do you want to allow this?” Why yes, thanks for asking. As a matter of fact I do. Wait, actually, allow me to take back my thanks. This is a terrible feature!

If you’ve updated to iOS 16 or bought a new iPhone 14 running the operating system, you’ve probably come across the new paste permission feature. Bad apples will spoil everything for everyone, and that’s what’s happened here.

Some apps were nefariously accessing copied data from user clipboards a few years ago. Apple responded by notifying users when an app was accessing their clipboard. Fair enough. This was a major annoyance at the start, but apps could update to use a new API that managed clipboard access more securely.

The company went a step further in iOS 16, adding a new paste permission dialogue that requires a user to choose between allowing or not allowing a paste.

Copy an image from Photos or text from Safari and paste it into Messages? iOS 16 wants permission for that. This feature has been on our radar since iOS 16 developer beta 1 was released in early June:

Previously, even if you got an alert that a specific app was reading your clipboard, there was nothing you could do but stop using that app if it bothered you.

Of course, since we’re talking about a beta feature, things still seem to be a bit confusing when it comes to clipboard updates.

Only now iOS 16 is out of beta and there’s still confusion about how the behavior works. If you copy and paste from a built-in app to another built-in app, should you see the paste permission? Shouldn’t there be a way to manage which apps have paste access in Privacy and Security in Settings? Can we just turn it off and live recklessly like it’s 2020 again?

Not yet. For now it feels like the ghost of Windows Vista has gone from haunting macOS with all its permissions to iOS 16 for a change.

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