New in macOS Sierra and iOS 10 is a Universal Clipboard feature that makes it much easier to transfer links, text, photos, and more between different devices. With Universal Clipboard, you can copy something on your Mac and paste it on your iPhone, or vice versa.

It's already been possible to open up web pages across multiple devices, but now that functionality has been extended further. With macOS Sierra and iOS 10, when you copy a link on one device, it's uploaded to iCloud and available on all other devices where you're signed in with your Apple ID. You can do things like look up a recipe on your Mac, copy the text, and paste it on your iPhone, or copy a photo from an iPhone to an iPad.

Using the feature is as simple as copying something on one device, switching over to another device, and hitting "Paste." It can sometime takes a second or two for the copy to register, but it works seamlessly. There are no visual indicators for Universal Clipboard -- it's all behind the scenes.

macossierrauniversalclipboard
Apple has implemented an expiration for Universal Clipboard, so you only have a few minutes to paste something to another device once it's been copied. After that expiration time, which appears to be about two minutes, cross-device paste stops working and will need to be reactivated with another copy.

There are limitations on what can be copied where. Text can be copied almost anywhere on a Mac or iOS device, but images are somewhat more limited and will need to be copied into an app, like Pages, so it isn't a solid alternative to AirDrop for photo file transfers.

Universal Clipboard is a Continuity feature, so to get it to work, you will need to be signed into the same Apple ID across all devices. Bluetooth will also need to be turned on for the feature to work, and Bluetooth LE is required. The following Macs work with Universal Clipboard:

- 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)

Continuity features are sometimes unreliable, and there have been reports about spotty performance with Universal Clipboard during the beta testing period. Sometimes it helps to sign in and out of iCloud to restore functionality, and you'll need to make sure Handoff is activated on your iOS device (Settings --> General --> Handoff).

Aside from a Bluetooth connection and the same Apple ID, there are no other requirements. Wi-Fi is not necessary, as Universal Clipboard will work with cellular data.

Previously introduced Continuity features allow users to do things like make and answer phone calls on their Macs, get SMS messages on the Mac, and transfer tasks from one device to another with Handoff. Other new Continuity features in macOS Sierra include Apple Pay on the web and Auto Unlock with Apple Watch.

macOS Sierra is available as of today and can be downloaded from the Mac App Store.

Top Rated Comments

freediverx Avatar
58 months ago
Doesn't work at all for me, and I've grown increasingly unwilling to toggle iCloud off and on every time related features don't work as advertised.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rigby Avatar
58 months ago
It's already been possible to open up web pages across multiple devices, but now that functionality has been extended further. With macOS Sierra and iOS 10, when you copy a link on one device, it's uploaded to iCloud [...]
As someone who sometimes uses copy/paste for sensitive information (e.g. to copy passwords from a password manager), this makes me very uneasy if true. Does anyone know if this is documented somewhere? I had assumed that the universal clipboard works similarly as Airdrop, which does not upload anything to iCloud (but rather uses a combination of Bluetooth and peer-to-peer Wifi to transfer the data locally). Unfortunately the iOS Security Guide has not yet been updated to cover the universal clipboard.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
coolfactor Avatar
58 months ago
Bluetooth? I though it worked via iCloud. O well, I'm not turning on Bluetooth.
I'm glad it doesn't use iCloud... I don't want everything I copy to be sent over the internet immediately.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vmachiel Avatar
58 months ago
Bluetooth? I though it worked via iCloud. O well, I'm not turning on Bluetooth.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BrewsterMccloud Avatar
58 months ago
I already use Notes.app for this. It is more flexible - can paste/copy multiple separate items and they appear almost instantly on all devices. What is the advantage of the new cross-device clipboard feature over the existing functionality of Notes.app?

Article Link: macOS Sierra and iOS 10: Universal Clipboard for Cross Device Copy/Paste ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/09/20/macos-sierra-universal-clipboard/')
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LiE_ Avatar
58 months ago
For me it works copying on Mac and pasting on iPhone but not the other way round.

2015 rMBP
iPhone 7+
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 6 in hand

Apple Faces Another iPhone Lawsuit Over 'Programmed Obsolescence'

Monday March 1, 2021 6:44 am PST by
Apple faces a new class-action lawsuit that accuses it of deliberately releasing iOS updates that slowly reduce the performance of an iPhone, forcing customers to upgrade their devices. The lawsuit comes from the Portuguese Consumer Protection Agency, Deco Proteste (via Marketeer), which in a statement says that it will proceed with a case against the Cupertino tech giant because it...
PIA23764 RoverNamePlateonMars web

NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Uses Same PowerPC Chipset Found in 1998 G3 iMac

Tuesday March 2, 2021 3:21 am PST by
NASA's Perseverance rover, which recently made history landing on the surface of Mars, is powered by the same processor used in an iMac more than 23 years old. Image Credit: NASA As reported by NewScientist (via Gizmodo), the rover includes the PowerPC 750 processor, the same chip used in the G3 iMac in 1998. The main chipset is the same; however, there are differences between the...
magsafe charging brick feature

Prosser: iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery Pack to Feature Reverse Charging

Monday March 1, 2021 1:18 pm PST by
Apple is working on MagSafe-compatible battery packs that will be compatible with the iPhone 12 models, and leaker Jon Prosser today said on the Genius Bar podcast that one version of the battery pack will feature "reverse charging." According to Prosser, Apple is working on two versions of the battery packs, one that's a standard version and one that's a premium version with reverse...
iphone 12 pro display video

iPhone 13 to Include 1TB Storage Option and LiDAR Across the Board, Says Wedbush Analyst

Monday March 1, 2021 4:00 am PST by
Apple's forthcoming iPhone 13 could include a 1TB storage option for some models and LiDAR Scanners across the entire lineup, according to a report from Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said that initial Asian supply chain checks gave the firm "increased confidence" that Apple's 5G-driven product cycle would extend well into 2022,...
Top Stories 47 Feature copy

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, and AirPods Rumors, macOS 11.2.2, MagSafe Wallet Revisited

Saturday February 27, 2021 6:00 am PST by
March is right around the corner, and that means our first good opportunity for Apple product launches in 2021 as the company frequently has significant launches in March or April each year. We're hearing rumors about MacBook Pro, iMac, AirPods, and more, although many of these will be coming out at different times over the course of the year. This week also saw a macOS update to address a ...
microsoft edge ios android

Bill Gates Says His Preference for Android Over iPhone is Due to Pre-Installed Software

Friday February 26, 2021 3:35 am PST by
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates this week participated in his first meeting on Clubhouse, the increasingly popular invite-only conversation app, where he fielded a range of questions as part of an ongoing book tour. Gates was interviewed by journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, and given that the Clubhouse app is currently only available on iOS, naturally one of the questions that came up was...
iphone 12 120hz thumbnail feature

Kuo: iPhone 13 Lineup to Feature Smaller Notch and Larger Batteries, 120Hz Display for Pro Models, and More

Monday March 1, 2021 7:50 am PST by
iPhone 13 models will all feature a smaller notch, while the two Pro models will be equipped with low-power LTPO display technology for a 120Hz refresh rate, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Several other sources have previously claimed that some iPhone 13 models will support a 120Hz refresh...
maxresdefault

HomeKit Essentials Worth Checking Out

Saturday February 27, 2021 7:05 am PST by
HomeKit was slow to take off after its 2014 launch, but now that it's been around for seven years, there are hundreds of HomeKit products available, ranging from doorbells and speakers to TVs, lights, and cameras. In our latest YouTube video, we rounded up some of our favorite HomeKit products that we find most useful. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. HomePod...
First Look Big Sur Feature2

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

Thursday February 25, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2, the fourth update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November. macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 comes two weeks after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, a bug fix update. The new ‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.2.2‌ update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences....
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...