Gboard prepares to let you paste images you copy into multiple social and messaging apps

Gboard prepares to let you paste images you copy into multiple social and messaging apps

A basic feature of many operating systems is the ability to copy and paste images. This is something we take for granted when using a PC, but it’s not as simple on mobile devices. A couple of days ago, we discovered a Chromium commit that mentioned adding support for copying images to the Android clipboard. Since then, the commit has been merged and the feature flag is available. Now, Google is preparing to update Gboard to add support for the feature.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

As you can see above, once the Chrome flag is enabled, the context menu for images now includes “Copy image.” But once the image has been copied into the clipboard, we’ve found it’s currently not possible to paste it in an app like Telegram or Twitter. In Android 10, only the default keyboard and current foreground app can read the clipboard, so it’s up to them to handle the image once you switch away from the app you copied the image in. We have discovered that Google is preparing Gboard to be able to handle inserting images from the clipboard in version 9.0.2.

<string name="clipboard_notice_banner_description">A promo to let users know that current application does not support pasting images.</string>
<string name="image_info_clip_description">Image from Gboard Clipboard</string>
<string name="image_share_intent_whitelist">com.android.mms, com.whatsapp, com.facebook.orca, com.viber.voip, jp.naver.line.android, com.android.messaging, ru.ok.android, com.tencent.mm, com.facebook.mlite, com.snapchat.android, com.motorola.messaging, com.google.android.apps.messaging, com.vkontakte.android, com.skype.raider, com.imo.android.imoim, com.samsung.android.messaging, com.zing.zalo, com.google.android.apps.docs, com.twitter.android, com.badoo.mobile, com.google.android.talk, app.buzz.share, com.random.chat.app</string>

The strings above are new to the latest version of Gboard, version 9.0.2. The first string is for a toast notification that will tell the user the current app does not support pasting images. The third string shows us a list of apps that could support pasting images if the feature launches. Those apps include:

  • AOSP messaging
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook
  • Viber
  • Line
  • OK
  • WeChat
  • Messenger Lite
  • Snapchat
  • Motorola Messages
  • Google Messages
  • VK
  • Skype
  • imo
  • Samsung Messages
  • Zalo
  • Google Docs
  • Twitter
  • Badoo
  • Hangouts
  • Helo

We were able to enable the feature flag in Chrome and copy an image but were not able to paste it into Twitter, so the feature does not appear to be live in Gboard at this time. This is a feature that many people may not have even realized is missing from their phone, but it makes a lot of sense when you realize it. We hope to see it soon.


Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.