You can copy and paste text, images, and files on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, but you can do the same across different Apple devices thanks to the built-in Universal Clipboard. Sure, you can always use AirDrop or iCloud to sync and deliver items between Mac and iOS devices, but the Universal Clipboard can copy and paste content those other features may not be able to handle.

For example, you can copy a link to a web page on an iPhone and paste it into Safari on your iPad. An image on your iPad can be pasted into an app on your Mac. If you have text on a Mac, you can copy and paste it into an email on your phone. Entire files can even be copied from one device to another.

These tricks are possible due to the continuity feature called Handoff, which helps your iPhone, iPad, and Mac talk to each other. To make this work, you have to enable certain options across all devices. After that, you can paste the same copied item as many times as you want, and it works as smoothly and effectively across devices as it does natively on one device.

Just remember that the clipboard can hold only one item at a time, which means if you copy something else, regardless of the device, the new selection will replace the previous one in the clipboard. Also keep in mind that copied content is available only for a short amount of time, so don’t wait too long to paste it.

System Requirements

First, let’s establish the ground rules over which devices and operating systems are required for the Universal Clipboard to work. On the software end, your Mac must run OS X Sierra or later, while your iPhone and iPad must have iOS 10 or higher. Your Mac or iOS/iPadOS device must be one of the following models:

Enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Each device must be signed into iCloud with the same Apple ID and must have both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi turned on. On a Mac, you can see if these are enabled by checking their icons on the status menu in the right-hand corner of the screen. Alternatively, open System Preferences > Network > Bluetooth PAN to confirm that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are turned on, respectively.

On your iPhone or iPad, open Settings to confirm that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are both enabled. You can also open Control Center and make sure the icons show that both are turned on.

Enable Handoff

Each device must also have the Handoff feature enabled. Do this on a Mac from System Preferences > General and select the Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices option if it’s not already checked.

To enable Handoff on an iOS/iPadOS device, go to Settings > General > AirPlay & Handoff and turn on the switch for Handoff if it’s not already on.

Copy Text on iPhone, Paste on iPad

Now, let’s try out a few tricks. On your iPhone, open a web page in Safari and copy the URL. Now switch to your iPad and open Safari. Tap the current URL in the address field, then tap the highlighted text. Tap Paste, and the URL you copied from Safari on your iPhone is pasted into Safari on your iPad. You can also paste the same URL into other iPad apps, like Notes, Mail, and Messages. Tap the appropriate place on the screen and select Paste to paste the URL.

Copy an Image on iPhone, Paste on iPad

Let’s say you have a photo on your iPhone that you want to copy and paste on an iPad. Launch the Photos app on iPhone and open the image. Tap the Share icon and tap the Copy Photo icon. On your iPad, open the app in which you want to paste the photo. Double-tap or long-press on the area where you want the photo to appear and tap Paste from the menu.

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Copy a Link on iPad, Paste on iPhone

You can copy and paste a direct link to certain content, such as a book stored in your library. Open the Books app, tap the ellipsis icon next to the book, and tap the Copy command. On your iPhone, open an app in which you want to paste the link to the book. Tap or hold down the appropriate area and select Paste from the menu.

Copy an Image on iPhone, Paste on Mac

Next, let’s get your Mac in on the action. On your iPad, copy a photo from the Photos app. On your Mac, open a program such as Pages. Move to the spot where you want to paste the photo and press Command + V, or right-click and select Paste to paste it into the document.

Copy Text on Mac, Paste on iPad

On your Mac, open a program such as System Information, which you’ll find in the Utilities folder. Select and copy the text in the Hardware Overview screen. Transition to your iPad and open a program, such as Mail or Messages, and paste the text you just copied from your Mac.

Copy a File on Mac, Paste on Another Mac

If you have more than one Mac, you can copy and paste content between them. On your first Mac, open the folder that contains the file you want to copy. Right-click on the file and select the Copy command. Now move to the other Mac . Open to the location where you wish to paste the file and press Command + V to paste it.