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LinkedIn caught copying clipboard data, but Microsoft says it's fixed the bug

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LinkedIn logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • LinkedIn's app on iOS copied data from clipboards.
  • The behavior seems to copy data from across linked iCloud accounts.
  • LinkedIn stated the behavior is a bug and not intentional.
  • A new version of the iOS app fixes this issue.

Updated July 6, 2020: This article has been updated with details regarding how an open-source component may have contributed to the behavior.

LinkedIn's app on iOS copied clipboard data on iPhones and devices connected to the same iCloud account. The behavior was first spotted last Thursday by an Urspace developer named Don Morton who shared findings on Twitter. ZDNet followed up with LinkedIn regarding the behavior, and a LinkedIn spokesperson said the behavior was a bug and not intentional. Since being reported by ZDNet and other outlets, LinkedIn released a new version of its iOS app that does not have the issue.

The clipboard copying caused frustration for many users that shared their feelings online. The copying behavior comes at a time when copying clipboard content is in several headlines. Popular social media app TikTok was recently caught checking clipboard data.

The clipboard copying behavior in LinkedIn on iOS was discovered in a beta version of iOS 14. The upcoming update to iOS devices has a new privacy feature that shows a popup when an app is reading clipboard content. As a result, several apps have been spotted checking clipboards.

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The copied data seems to sync across devices linked to the same iCloud account. Urspace's Morton states that the app copied data from clipboard on a MacBook Pro even though the LinkedIn app was on an iPad.

In addition to a spokesperson from LinkedIn telling ZDNet that the behavior is a bug, Erran Berger, VP Engineering of Consumer Products at LinkedIn, discussed the bug on Twitter. Berger states, "We've traced this to a code path that only does an equality check between the clipboard contents and the currently typed content in a text box." He adds "We don't store or transmit the clipboard contents."

On July 4, Berger shared that a new version of the iOS app removes the code that causes the copying behavior.

The issue seems connected to an open-source component that Microsoft used. Berger shared an example on Twitter. InfoQ explains the process in more technical detail, but in short, the same open-source component may have been used across several apps that have seen the same behavior.

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

2 Comments
  • Just maybe, this clipboard implementation by Apple is not done well.
    Why make clipboard's data so widely available and can easily be tapped into by any Apps?
    Apps in general by their nature nowadays wants to get all or any data even the ones that are non of their business. Now Apple implemented clipboard with easiest access by Apps (Any Apps for that matter) is hoping Apps will do the right thing..... Are you Kidding me?
  • I was just wondering about the same thing. Can't believe that so many software giants want to steal your clipboard data the exact same way. Must be a framework issue. Then now I see that it is suspected that an open-source component reused by many may be responsible for this.