Android 12 copies iOS 14 with new clipboard access alerts

Android 12 copies iOS 14 with new clipboard access alerts

Google has been cracking down on clipboard access in Android for a few years now. The company blocked background apps from reading clipboard data with the release of Android 10, and now in Android 12, Google is introducing a setting to show a popup every time an app accesses your clipboard — even if it’s in the foreground.

We reported in April that Google was working on clipboard access popups in Android 12, accessible from the system Privacy settings. When enabled, the feature shows a toast message every time an app accesses text, images, or other content in the clipboard. Google confirmed the functionality during today’s ‘What’s new in Android’ talk, and said it would be available to try in Android 12 Beta 2.

Screenshot of Android with a popup that reads "

The feature might not seem useful in most circumstances, since clipboard access is already restricted to the foreground application, but it will come in handy for investigating app behavior. The effect could be similar to to Android 10’s introduction of notifications for background location access, which highlighted how often Instagram and other apps were secretly obtaining location data.

Apple introduced similar functionality in iOS 14, which displays notifications when an app reads your clipboard data. The feature revealed how often Twitter, Zilow, TikTok, and other applications were quietly accessing the clipboard.  It’s not clear yet if Google will enable alerts by default in Android 12, like Apple did with iOS 14.

About author

Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also the host of the Tech Tales podcast, which explores the history of the technology industry. Follow him on Twitter at @corbindavenport.