Monday, September 19, 2022

Extra iOS 16 Paste Prompts

Sami Fathi:

The new prompt was added to iOS 16 as a privacy measure for users, requiring that apps ask for permission to access the clipboard, which may have sensitive data. The prompt, however, has become an annoyance for users as they install iOS 16, as it constantly asks for permission whenever they wish to paste something into an app.

As user annoyance with the behavior boils high, Apple has finally responded, saying the constant pop-up is not how the feature is intended to work. MacRumors reader Kieran sent an email to Craig Federighi and Tim Cook, complaining about the constant prompt and advocating for Apple to treat access to the clipboard the same way iOS treats third-party access to location, camera, microphone, and more.

Ron Huang, a senior manager at Apple, joined the email thread saying the pop-up is not supposed to appear every time a user attempts to paste.

I don’t understand why there’s a prompt at all if the paste was initiated by the user from an OS-provided button. Are they worried about apps faking button clicks? If so, how does the prompt actually protect against that if sometimes I do want to paste? Plus, there’s a bug where the paste button in the popover is blank before the first time you paste.

Michael Love:

I’m actually grateful for this botched rollout, because it’s going to make it next to impossible for Apple to shift blame to developers for future annoying clipboard alerts.

We still get blamed for TCC forgetting things…


Update (2022-09-23): Cyclebrity:

Thanks, I need all the help I can get to save auto-paste from death 💀

Stanislav Dvoychenko:

Apple’s decision to have it as their own UIControl makes sense to me. But they went for “security via obscurity” when it comes for how this control works. If you don’t obey rules that are not documented, it will be asking for permission all the time or even randomly.

John Gruber:

The best thing about this copy-paste permission alert that is driving everyone nuts in iOS 16: the apostrophe in “Don’t Allow Paste” is the wrong one. It’s upside down.

4 Comments RSS · Twitter

With an old RSS app on iOS, the bug seems to be that the prompt will reappear when the clipboard changes. The RSS app I use offers to paste the clipboard when the app is brought to the front. I presume this is for pasting RSS feed links. The prompt for permission can only be made to reappear when the clipboard changes, not just when bringing the app back to the front or closing/relaunching the app. It's as if the granting of permission doesn't persist across clipboard changes.

@Michael The paste alert is rendered out of process, so an app cannot fake a touch event through normal means (it’s still possible through the accessibility/UI testing system, but harder and not as obvious to achieve). I guess that’s the rationale.

But at the end of the day, this is more of the security/privacy theater Apple has been engaging in recent years, without any meaningful benefit to the user.

@Leo I was referring to faking an event to initiate the paste, not to get through the alert.

I wish Apple would explain its thinking here because this seems to be annoying while also providing less benefit (and possibly a false sense of security) compared with the other privacy prompts. The way it seems like it was not thought through kind of undermines trust in the rest of the system.

Thank goodness I have an iPhone 7 and can't upgrade. Apple's OS releases just get worse and worse with each uptick in its major version, both from bugs and intentional regressions.

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