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If you use an iPhone and Mac, you need to try this amazing feature

Published Jan 9th, 2022 1:48PM EST
Apple MacBook Pro 2021 laptop featuring an Apple M1-series CPU
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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One of the great things about using an iPhone and a Mac is that you can enjoy some perks of the Apple ecosystem. Put differently, Apple products are designed to work seamlessly together and provide a user experience that is tough to match when using devices from different manufacturers. A prime example is the ability to text iPhone users via the Messages app on your computer. Another, albeit lesser-known, example is Universal Clipboard.

As a quick aside, it’s no secret that Apple has focused much of its attention on the iPhone in recent years. More recently, though, Apple finally started showing a little bit of much-deserved love to the Mac. The end result is that Apple’s Mac lineup today is more exciting than it’s been in years. This is partially due to the company’s line of blazing-fast M1 processors and, of course, redesigned form factors on the iMac and MacBook Pro. And going forward, we can expect to see a completely redesigned MacBook Air in 2022 as well.

What is Universal Clipboard

Universal Clipboard is a feature that takes copying and pasting to the next level. It’s been around for a few years, but it’s still not as widely known as it should be given its immense utility. As for what it does specifically, Universal Clipboard allows users to copy text, video, or images from one Apple device to another. Say, for example, you want to quickly copy a link from your iPhone to your iPad for easier viewing, Universal Clipboard makes it all possible. In short, imagine AirDrop-style functionality with fewer hoops to jump through.

How to set things up

You’ll first want to make sure that every device is signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID. Next, make sure that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are turned on for every device.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to turn the Handoff feature on. To do this, go to System Preferences > General on your Mac.

Next, go to the bottom where you’ll see an “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices” toggle. Make sure this has a checkmark beside it. On an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > General and do the same thing.

How to use Universal Clipboard

Once you’ve got this all set up, it’s now time to use it. The good news is that the entire process is seamless and requires little to no effort. All you have to do is copy an item on one device whereupon it’s stored in, you guessed it, the Universal Clipboard. It remains there for a short time. During that time, if you attempt to paste on another device, you’ll see the original copied file magically appear.

The feature has been around for a while, but on the off chance you haven’t tried it, we’ll go over the system requirements quickly.

On the iPhone, Universal Clipboard requires iOS 10 or later. Realistically, this shouldn’t be an issue for almost anyone. In contrast to Android, most iPhone users are running very recent iterations of iOS. On the Mac, Universal Clipboard requires macOS Sierra (10.12) or later.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.