Apple Universal Clipboard: Copy & Paste Between Devices

One of the coolest and most convenient Apple features, Universal Clipboard lets you seamlessly copy, cut, and paste between multiple devices.

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

If you have multiple Apple devices, you can copy or cut something from one device and paste it to the other. This productivity feature is extremely helpful for starting something on one device and completing it on the other device. Apple calls this the Universal Clipboard, and the feature couldn’t be easier to use. Read on to find out!

Related: How to Use AirDrop or iTunes to Transfer Files Between Your iPhone and Computer

Why You'll Love This Tip

  • Copy and paste links, photos, and even large text between devices super fast.
  • Cut and paste between any Apple Device logged into the same iCloud account.

Copy on Phone & Paste on Mac with Handoff

In order for Universal Clipboard to work smoothly, make sure all your devices are connected to Wi-Fi and are logged in to the same Apple ID account. Next, you will want to make sure AirPlay & Handoff is turned on in your iPhone's settings. To do this:

  1. Go to Settings on your iPhone.

    Open Settings to turn on Handoff
  2. Tap General.

    Access Handoff through your iPhone Settings
  3. Tap AirPlay & Handoff.

    Edit Handoff settings to enable copy paste sharing
  4. Toggle Handoff on. It will be green when activated.

    turn on Handoff

Copy Across Devices: Mac to iPhone or iPad and Vice-Versa

Now that you've made sure you're logged in to your Apple ID on all devices, and you've turned on Handoff, you should be able to copy, cut, and paste between various devices. Let's start out with copying from your Mac and pasting on your iPhone.

  1. Highlight the text or image you want to copy or cut and paste by clicking and dragging with your mouse.

    Select text to highlight
  2. Right-click in the highlighted text.

    right-click to copy highlighted text
  3. Select copy or cut depending on your needs.

    Copy highlighted text
  4. Now, open your phone to the place you want to paste (I chose the Notes app).

    Choose app to paste text
  5. Tap the screen twice where you're about to type to reveal the menu.

    double tap to paste on iPhone
  6. Tap Paste.

    Paste text from Mac on iPhone

Now your copied text from your Mac should appear on your iPhone like magic.

How to Copy on Phone & Paste on Mac

Now, let's go the opposite way and paste text or images from iPhone or iPad to your Mac.

  1. Highlight the text or image you want to copy or cut by tapping it twice to reveal the menu.

    Paste from Mac to iPhone
  2. Drag the cursor handles to highlight the text.

    How to highlight text on iPhone
  3. Tap cut or copy depending on your needs.

    Select all text to copy to Mac from iPhone
  4. Now, open up your Mac to the place you want to paste.

    Open app on Mac to paste from iPhone
  5. Right-click to reveal the menu.

    Right-click to paste from iPhone to Mac
  6. Click Paste.

    Copy and Paste from iPhone to a Mac

And that's all there is to it! I use this feature every day, and if you also have a few Apple devices you use regularly, you may find it helpful as well! Overall, Universal Clipboard makes copying and pasting things from one device to the other ridiculously easy. If you liked this tip, be sure to sign up for our Tip of the Day to learn more cool and useful tricks for working with your Apple devices. 

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.


Author Details

Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.