Copy and Paste Across Your Apple Devices using Universal Clipboard.
Do you have an email address or URL on your iPhone that would be more useful if it was on your Mac? Or maybe you have an image on your Mac that you want to use on your iPad? Or maybe you have one file on your MacBook Air that you need to copy to your iMac Pro?
Using the universal clipboard, simply copy it to one device and paste it on another!
If you’re willing to spend the change to buy Apple stuff, you have advantages. The two features are what Apple calls Continuity and Universal Clipboard. These features first appeared in MAC OS Sierra, OS 10.12 and iOS 10.
In this article, I will walk you through the requirements and setup of a universal clipboard. In my own tests, it worked great on my Mac, iPad and iPhone.
Software / hardware requirements
This feature works on the following devices and operating systems:
Mac computers must be running Mac OS 10.12 (Sierra) or later; iOS devices must be running iOS 10 or later. For supported hardware, use the table below to ensure that your model is new enough to support Universal Clipboard.
Then, for this to work, you must make sure Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are BOTH enabled for each device and that you are near the device you want to “paste” on. In addition, all devices must be signed in to the same iCloud account.
How to enable the Universal Clipboard
If your devices can use the universal clipboard, you will now want to check if it is enabled for your OS X and iOS devices.
Universal Clipboard is part of Handoff and Continuity, Apple’s precondition for seamless work between devices. Here’s how to enable Handoff on Mac OS and iOS:
iOS: Settings / General / Transfer
OS X: System Preferences / General / Allow handover between this Mac and your iCloud devices
At this point everything should be working. Before you get too frustrated or change any settings, be sure to restart your devices to make sure everything is in sync.
Copy and paste
Check again that both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are turned on on all devices, and then try copying the text. Below I copied the text from the news app to my iPhone:
Then I opened the TextEdit app on my Mac and went to the Edit menu. I noticed right away that there was an insert option available.
I hit Paste and my iPhone text appeared on my Mac!
Now I’ve tested this with multiple apps and both ways and it didn’t always work as expected. For example, copying text from the Gmail app only worked occasionally. For some emails, the text was copied fine, but for others, nothing was displayed.
I suspect it has something to do with the text formatting in emails, but it’s annoying that you don’t know if this will work or not.
Copying authentication codes from Authy or LastPass worked fine. Copying pictures from the Photos app and pasting them also worked well. I haven’t had a chance to paste the entire file from Mac to Mac because I don’t have two Macs, but hopefully that works too.
If you run into any problems, make sure your devices and operating systems are supported and that Handoff is enabled on all devices. Enjoy!