iOS 16: Big nerve with copy & paste

It has been known for over two years that some apps steal data from the iOS clipboard, which has even led to the first complaints from users in the USA. Apple responded by warning users in iOS 15 when apps do this. With iOS 16, the protection function was sharpened again – but so aggressively that it can significantly disrupt the user experience.

Every time you insert content, you will be asked whether you want to allow this. The app from which the content originates and the target application are named in each case. The idea here is actually good: there used to be only a warning and you could only react by not using the app any further. Now you can explicitly forbid the insertion.

But Apple is being overcautious here: the dialog even comes up when you copy from Apple app to Apple app, for example from Safari to the Messages app. In addition, there is currently no way to fix these permissions once and for all. A corresponding entry is missing in the system settings of the iPhone. So you are constantly confronted with the dialogue, which some users reminded of the endless warning dialogs in Windows Vista.

The feature has been part of the operating system since iOS 16 Beta 1; nevertheless it was retained. It gives users more control, but in practice it also means that you are quickly annoyed by the dialog – and click it away again and again. It is unclear whether the permanent appearance is not also related to a bug or whether it really affects all users. A senior Apple executive, Ron Huang, gave an exasperated user who had written to CEO Tim Cook and software chief Craig Federighi, by e-mail for recordthat the ongoing dialogues that are now appearing are “absolutely not an expected behavior”. “We’ll get to the bottom of it.” The user is “not the only one” who complains about it.

So Apple itself has the problem on the screen. According to one Wall Street Journal report there could be an update in the near future that should also fix “unwanted copy-and-paste warnings” that appear in apps. In principle, Apple could solve the problem quite easily with a new per-app security setting; then, for example, system programs could be given permanent permission to copy content from app to app.

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