How to copy and paste across iPhone, iPad and Mac with Universal Clipboard

Copy Paste Text from iPad to Mac Mail

Apple has a wonderful feature that allows you to copy from one device and paste to another. This is called the Universal Clipboard. You may have heard of it and don’t take advantage of it or this may be completely new to you.

Why is this handy? There are numerous ways that the Universal Clipboard can be of use.

Maybe you’re doing research on your iPhone and find information you need to have for a document on your Mac. Maybe you snap a screenshot of something on your Mac that you want to mark up on your iPad. Maybe it’s as simple as a link you want to copy from Chrome on your iPhone over to Safari on your iPad.

Whatever the reason, using the Universal Clipboard is convenient. Here’s how to set it up and use it to copy and paste across iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Continuity requirements for the Universal Clipboard

First, you’ll need to have devices that meet Apple’s continuity requirements for the Universal Clipboard.

Basically, you’ll need an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 10 or later and a Mac with macOS Sierra or later.

Apple Continuity Requirements Universal Clipboard

If you have an older Mac, take a look at how you can add continuity features to it.

System settings for the Universal Clipboard

In addition to a supported device, you’ll need to make sure you’re set up to use the Universal Clipboard on your devices.

Each device must:

  • Have Wi-Fi enabled
  • Have Bluetooth enabled
  • Have Handoff enabled
  • Be signed into iCloud with the same Apple ID

Check these settings on iPhone and iPad

1) Open Settings.

2) Tap Wi-Fi and make sure you’re connected.

3) Go back to the Settings screen and tap Bluetooth, be sure it’s enabled.

4) Go back to the Settings screen, tap General > Handoff and make sure it’s enabled.

Wifi Bluetooth Handoff Enabled iPhone

Check these settings on Mac

1) From the menu bar, click the Apple Icon > System Preferences.

2) Click Network, make sure Wi-Fi is turned on and you’re connected.

3) Go back to System Preferences and click Bluetooth. Make sure Bluetooth is enabled.

4) Go back to System Preferences and click General. Toward the bottom, be sure the box for Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices is marked.

Wifi Bluetooth Handoff Enabled Mac

How to use the Universal Clipboard

Now that you have supported devices all set up to use the Universal Clipboard, the rest is a breeze. Here are just a few examples of how to use it to copy and paste between devices.

Copy and paste an image

I took a screenshot on my Mac that I want to send to my iPhone. Here are the steps:

1) Copy the image. Open Preview and select Edit > Copy.

2) Open the app on iPhone to paste the image. I picked Notes.

3) Open or create a new note, tap and hold to pull up the small menu, tap Paste.

Copy Paste Image from Mac to iPhone Notes

Copy and paste a link

I wanted to copy a link from Chrome on my iPhone and open it in Safari on my iPad. Here are the steps.

1) Copy the link. Open Chrome and select Share > Copy.

2) Open Safari on iPad.

3) Hold your finger in the address bar and then tap Paste or Paste and Go.

Copy Paste Link from Chrome iPhone to iPad

Copy and paste text

I found some text on a webpage on my iPad that I wanted to pop into an email on my Mac. Here are the steps.

1) Select the text and hold to open the small menu. Select Copy.

2) Open Mail on Mac to the message where you want to paste the text.

3) Right-click in the message body and click Paste.

Copy Paste Text from iPad to Mac Mail

These are just a few examples of how you can quickly copy and paste between devices with the Universal Clipboard. In a nutshell, just use the copy action to grab the content from one device and the paste action to put the content on the other device.

Wrapping it up

One last thing to keep in mind is that the content you copy does not stay on the Universal Clipboard forever. Apple states that it remains there for a short time or until you replace it by copying something else.

Are you ready to start using the Universal Clipboard feature? Let us know how easy you find it and if it comes in handy for you.