Universal Clipboard is getting a whole lot more useful for sharing between Mac and iPhone. The Continuity feature already makes it possible to copy text, photos, and videos from one Mac and paste them onto iPhone. This guide tells you how to turn on this highly useful Continuity function.
Universal Clipboard is a Continuity feature, which requires Bluetooth LE. Your Mac has to be running macOS Sierra or later, but users wanting to transfer files between Macs using Universal Clipboard need both to run on macOS High Sierra. Here’s a list of supported Macs.
- MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (2012 or newer)
- MacBook Air (2012 or newer)
- Mac mini (2012 or newer)
- iMac (2012 or newer)
- Mac Pro (Late 2013)
Step 1: Make sure you’re signed into iCloud on both Mac and iPhone
using the same Apple ID as other devices you wish to use Universal Clipboard on. On the Mac, click the Apple Logo in the menu bar and go to System Preferences, then select iCloud.
The summary on the left side of the iCloud window will show which iCloud account is signed in. If it’s not the one you want, sign out of the current iCloud account, and sign in with the correct account.
For the iPhone and iPad, there are a similar set of items to enable, with all residing in the Settings app.
To check the iCloud account, tap the account name at the top of the left-hand menu, and check to see if iCloud is enabled.
If it is not logged in, iOS 10.3 or later users select Sign in to your iPhone or iPad, and enter your Apple ID and password, followed by the two-factor authentication if that is enabled. If it is not the right account, scroll to the bottom of the Apple ID page and select Sign Out, then log into the correct account.
Step 2: Make sure both Mac and iPhone are on the same Wi-Fi and have Bluetooth turned on
Universal Clipboard also uses local Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Both devices need to be on the same local Wi-Fi network and both devices need to have Bluetooth turned on, even if you don’t have anything paired.
On the Mac, within the System Preferences window, select Network, then Wi-Fi, and then Turn Wi-Fi On if it is switched off. In the System Preferences window, select Bluetooth, and if it is not showing as on, select Turn Bluetooth On.
To enable Wi-Fi, go to the Wi-Fi section in Settings and make sure it is toggled on. If you do not already have a connection to a Wi-FI network, now would be a good time to set one up, if you know the credentials to any of the access points listed on this page. For Bluetooth, scroll down to Bluetooth, and set the toggle on.
Step 3: Copy and paste
Once you’re set up, Continuity should work between your devices. The use of Universal Clipboard is almost exactly the same as if text or an image were to be copied from one application into another, except the entire process is split in two, with each half performed on different devices.
Select content and copy on your Mac or iPhone. Once copied, the content is automatically transferred to the clipboard of other nearby devices logged into the same iCloud account, and with stay there for a short period of time, or until it is replaced by copying something else from one of the devices.
To paste in iOS, it’s another long press on the screen until options appear, then select Paste.
For Mac-based pasting, select the area you want to put the copied content, and paste it in place. Again, this can be done using the keyboard shortcut Command-V, right-clicking and selecting Paste, or by selecting Edit then Paste from the menu.