Thursday, October 21, 2021

Yoink for iOS Uses Picture-in-Picture

Matthias Gansrigler:

After releasing Yoink v2.3, which brought the app up-to-speed on all things iOS 15, I have another great update out for Yoink for iPad and iPhone, which allows you to make the app monitor your clipboard in the background and save almost anything you copy or cut.


So in addition to sharing content to Yoink with its Share extension, manually pasting content into the app, and Siri Shortcuts, you can now have anything you copy stored automatically in Yoink.

Federico Viticci (tweet):

The result is unlike anything else I’ve seen on iOS and iPadOS, and it unlocks the kind of flexibility and peace of mind I’ve long missed from macOS. It’s almost too good to be true, and I hope I won’t cause any trouble by writing about it.


Several years ago back when Pastebot was also available on iPhone, Tapbots attempted to let it run persistently in the background by playing a silent audio track that would trick iOS into not suspending Pastebot when it was closed. The feature was promptly shut down by Apple.

Unable to devise other methods to let apps run in the background without interruptions, developers of clipboard managers then converged on the same idea: using old-school Today widgets to capture the contents of the clipboard as soon as the user opened the Today page.


Yoink’s persistent clipboard monitoring is a new spin on an old concept: it uses an audio/video trick to let the app run in the background and make iOS/iPadOS think it’s always in the foreground, capable of capturing your clipboard. Specifically, Yoink uses Apple’s Picture in Picture technology to remain active even if you close the app, monitor what you copy, and save it into the main Yoink app.

Sounds like a great idea, and one arm of Apple is currently promoting Yoink in the App Store. Hopefully, another arm doesn’t decide that this is not how the Picture-in-Picture API was intended to be used.


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