Until the release of Android 13 in October 2022, the text you copied to your phone’s clipboard was private. You might see a confirmation message for the action, but that’s it – and this system worked perfectly for credentials from your password manager.
But apparently this behavior was not satisfactory. Now if you record a bit of text, a bubble will appear in the bottom left of the screen displaying the string of characters… and all of the text is fair game. That includes passwords (yikes!).
What happened? In Android 13, app developers must mark copied text as confidential to keep it private. Without this signal, the operating system assumes that it is plain text, visible to the eyes (and editable if you tap the bubble). Some password managers have yet to revamp their mobile apps to accommodate this change, which may hurt the security you’re hoping for.
Not everyone will have this problem – if you’re using a non-stock version of Android (like on a Samsung device), your phone might behave differently. But when you encounter it, it can be annoying, especially on Pixel phones. Stock Android 13 does not allow users to disable this new feature, a step that is both annoying and confusing at the same time.
Luckily, you’re not stuck with your passwords showing up when you copy one to use. You have two ways to restore your security, and both are easy.
Option 1: Grant your password manager app autofill permissions
To enable this feature, open your Settings app, then search for “AutoFill.” Choose autofill service, and then tap the current selection. Choose your password manager from your options.
Now when you create or enter a password, the autofill option will appear from your password manager when you are in the appropriate form field.
Option 2: Update your password manager
Don’t feel comfortable linking your password manager app to Android’s autofill feature? A newer version of your password manager can properly mark your passwords as sensitive data.
In the Google Play app, tap your avatar icon in the top-right corner of the screen, then select Manage apps and devices. If an update is available, it will be listed under the entry for updates available. (If you don’t have any updates at all, the menu says All apps up to date.)
If the app doesn’t have any updates or the latest update doesn’t fix this copy issue, check if the app developer has switched to a separate version of the app. For example, 1Password has made its version 7 and version 8 two completely different apps. Only the newer version keeps your passwords secret while copying.
If none of these options work, you have two alternatives. Man reconsiders autofill. The other is to change password managers. (Yes.)
Of course, this feature wouldn’t be a problem if all users could just turn it off. Personally, I get little benefit from it – when I need to view or edit my text, I’m on a PC.