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How to view your clipboard history

A laptop running Windows 11

Lawrence Gordon Tesler and his colleague Tim Mott invented the copy and paste feature available on the devices we use today. Rather than rewrite everything we have already typed, we can simply use shortcuts ctrl/cmd + c to copy and ctrl/cmd + v to paste hundreds of pages at once.

A clipboard is a fancy name for copy history. I think the idea of the word is to mimic the physical use of a hard clipboard because whatever you have written on the clipboard stays on the page as you continue to write.

Clipboard history holds so much power when used appropriately. It can get frustrating when you cannot find the items you copied beforehand. Hence, this article will show you how to find these items seamlessly on various devices using the clipboard history feature and clipboard managers.

Where do you find the clipboard?

The location of the clipboard differs depending on your OS and device. We will discuss the clipboard feature on Android devices, iOS devices, and Windows PCs.

iPhone clipboard app

iPhones do not come with the clipboard feature built in. You might want to try using the Notes app to paste important information into.

Using third-party keyboard apps to view clipboard history

Every iPhone comes with an integrated keypad that many users are comfortable with. But if you want the clipboard feature on your iPhone, you might want to consider third-party keyboard or clipboard apps.

Most users are hesitant about using third-party keyboard apps on iPhones because most clipboard apps are not flexible or convenient to use. That said, there are several options, but we will try to stick to the best. These apps might also require that you change your default keyboard.

Here are the top four options that will not require your credit card details:

iPhone Shortcuts app

There are other clipboard options on the iPhone Shortcuts app.

You might find this process quite tricky if you’re new to it. But if you want to check them out, you can follow these instructions on how to find the clipboard option on your iPhone.

  • Find the Shortcuts app on your App menu.
Shortcut to view clipboard historyImage source: Toby Grey for BGR
  • Click the Gallery icon on the bottom right corner.
Click gallery to view clipboard historyImage source: Toby Grey for BGR
  • Find the top search bar and type Clipboard or Clipboard History.
Search clipboard to  view clipboard historyImage source: Toby Grey for BGR

How can I open clipboard history on my Android phone?

Although many Android phones have identical or comparable operating systems (customized by manufacturers), they have different characteristics, including the keyboard. That said, many Android phones come with a clipboard installed, making it easy to copy and paste items.

Only a handful of Android phones might not have a clipboard. Fortunately, the Android operating system allows you to tweak the settings using third-party apps to your satisfaction efficiently.

Of all the apps we have tested, the Microsoft SwiftKey keyboard works the best where the clipboard history feature is concerned.

How to use the Microsoft SwiftKey keyboard

You do not need a Microsoft account to use the SwiftKey keyboard. Follow the instructions below to use SwiftKey on your phone.

Image source: Toby Grey for BGR
  • Download and install the SwiftKey app on the Google Play store.
Download Swiftkey to view clipboard historyImage source: Toby Grey for BGR
  • Open the app and click on the keyboard icon to expand.
Click keyboard to  view clipboard historyImage source: Toby Grey for BGR
  • Select the clipboard icon to view the clipboard item history.
Select clipboard to  view clipboard history Image source: Toby Grey for BGR
  • Select one or multiple items you’ve copied to paste one or more of the multiple items.
Select one of the copied itemsImage source: Toby Grey for BGR

If you haven’t copied any item beforehand, it won’t display anything in the clipboard manager. You can also pin items you’ve copied on the SwiftKey keyboard to view your clipboard history using the pin icon.

Using Google Keyboard (Gboard)

Use Gboard to view clipboard historyImage source: Toby Grey for BGR

Gboard is Google’s official keyboard app. It features a built-in clipboard. It allows you to view and recover clipboard information and copy and paste multiple items.

Gboard is the most used keyboard app and is available on the Google Play store. It is reliable & simple to use.

How can I recover clipboard history on Android?

Clipboards contain texts that have been copied and pasted on the phone. However, some Android default clipboard features only give access to the latest data entries.

Using third-party apps can make the entire clipboard experience much more enjoyable. After installing either SwiftKey or Gboard clipboard apps, find the clipboard history icon on the top of the keyboard. Click to open it and you will find previously copied items.

SwiftKey vs. Gboard clipboard history features

You can find recent items or older items using these apps. But which is better?

In our experience, SwiftKey has a better user experience than any other competitor. It allows you to search for emojis and gifs and customize your keyboard background. But it doesn’t predict autocorrect as well as Gboard.

Gboard is minimalistic in design. If you’re going for less clutter and more screen room for typing, you should consider this option. Gboard supports a vast collection of stickers, integrates Bitmoji, and has an Emoji kitchen.

Other alternatives to these keyboard apps are:

  • AnySoftKeyboard
  • OpenBoard
  • FlorisBoard
  • Hackers Keyboard

Clipboard history in Windows 10/11

Windows 10 and 11 come with clipboards that can be used to paste a recent copy list on a program. This is similar to Spike from Microsoft Word, which can be used to copy multiple documents to a clipboard. The history of clipboards contains the latest 25 text excerpts, HTML, and photos less than 4MB in size.

You can also pin them in order of importance if you want to come back to them later. This helps you properly scale your preference.

Some things, particularly larger ones, are not included in historical records. And except for clipboard items pinned to history, the clipboard’s history is wiped every time you reboot your PC.

Find clipboard on Windows

  • For Windows 10 and 11, you can find your Clipboard history when you type clipboard in the start search bar.
Find clipboard on WindowsImage source: Toby Grey for BGR
  • To access it, you must turn on the Clipboard history in Settings.
Turn on clipboard history Image source: Toby Grey for BGR

This toggle on the clipboard setting only makes the clipboard available for you to use when required.

Once you have enabled Clipboard history, you can find a list of items you have copied recently while using any application. To do so, press Windows key+V. A small window will pop up. The most recent items you’ve copied are at the top of the list. You can click on any item in the clipboard history.

Select from the multiple items copiedImage source: Toby Grey for BGR

The clipboard manager is so fundamental to the operating system that cutting, copying, and pasting are probably the first three basic computer commands that most people learn. It’s so intuitive and logical we forget that the clipboard concept was invented in the early 1970s.

The clipboard remains an integral part of so many people’s daily workflow and, hopefully, with new iterations of operating systems, it can be improved.

FAQ

How do I view my clipboard history on Android?

For Android phones, you can find clipboard history in the sub-menu of your keyboard. This is typically a third-party app feature.

How do I see all the clipboard copies?

Tap the small clipboard icon on your keyboard. It should display your clipboard history.

Why can’t I see my clipboard?

If you can’t see your clipboard, it is possible your Android device does not have the clipboard history feature built in. Try downloading and using the SwiftKey app or Gboard.

How to clear the clipboard on an Android?

To clear your clipboard on an Android device, press and hold any saved item in the clipboard manager, then select cut or delete.

Which is better, Microsoft SwiftKey or Gboard?

If you are looking for a proper clipboard manager, Microsoft SwiftKey takes the cake.

Will I find the clipboard history feature on my iPhone?

No, iPhones do not support the clipboard history feature. You can try third-party options like the Clip Board app.

What is the shortcut to finding clipboard history on my Windows 10?

The shortcut for clipboard history on your Windows 10 PC is the Windows key + V.

Can I pin items on the clipboard manager for Windows?

Yes, you can. When you open the clipboard manager, find the item you want to pin and click on the pin icon.

Read our article on the best physical clipboard for work.

Toby Grey contributes as a How To expert for BGR. Typing away like a keyboard super hero, he covers just about anything you can think of. If Toby isn't writing, he's probably reading a book or playing video games.