July 31

Copy/Paste from one device to another

I bought a PC recently because it has features my Mac doesn’t (gasp!). One of the functions I am CONSTANTLY missing on the PC is my Mac’s Handoff feature.

It’s where I can copy something on my Mac then immediately paste it into my iPhone or iPad, and vice versa.

Turns out I use this functionality all. the. time. It was the perfect solution for things like:

  • Sharing a URL with my sister via text
  • Inputting the address of a contact into Amazon to send someone a gift
  • Copying a few lines of text from an article on my phone so that I could use it in an article
  • Grabbing a picture from my computer to text to the hubby

I actually can’t name all the things I used it for because it is such second nature… I bet I used it at least once a day.

And when I was using the PC and couldn’t paste into my iPhone, I would grit my teeth and take 3-4 extra steps to get the information from one place to another. GRRR.

Luckily for us in 2020, multi-device copy/paste functionality is available on a number of platforms. You just have to set it up.

Here’s a handy guide for copying/pasting among devices:

All Apple Devices

Apple has hooked all of its devices together with a feature called “Handoff.” Requirements:

  • Handoff has to be enabled on all devices
  • The devices have to be near each other
  • The devices have to have both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on

You can read the instructions from Apple.

Windows 10 Devices

Microsoft devices that run Windows 10 can share Cloud Clipboard. Read the notes from Microsoft. Requirements:

  • You have to be signed into your Microsoft account on all devices
  • Cloud Clipboard has to be enabled on all devices

Android Devices and PCs

Android devices and PCs running Windows 10 more or less play well together. You have to connect your Windows/Microsoft account with the devices, and they can transfer information back and forth.

Most of the newer Samsung devices will do the copy/paste stuff. Here’s what Microsoft says. I have a Google Pixel 3, and that will do things like files, photos and websites, but not copy/paste text. Some of the connection relies on an app called Your Phone. It can also connect with an app called Microsoft Launcher.

Apple Devices and PCs

Err. Umm. Y’all know Apple and Windows don’t play nice, right? This doesn’t work quite as well or do quite as much. You can send a webpage you’re on through the Microsoft Edge browser app and/or an app called Continue on PC.

Chrome Browser Clipboard Sync

This kind of freaked me out. There’s a secret place in the Chrome browser that has all kinds of weird settings I don’t understand. But in that list you can find two settings that let you send text from one Chrome browser to the clipboard in your nearby devices.

Go to chrome://flags

In the search box on that page, enter ‘clipboard,’ and you should find two settings:

  1. Enable receiver device to handle shared clipboard feature
  2. Enable shared clipboard feature signals to be handled

Then when you highlight text in one Chrome browser, just right click to see a new option: Copy to Device, with a dropdown of all the nearby devices. You have to enable the flags thingy on each device you want to get things from. I had also enabled a Windows setting to receive and send from other nearby devices.

Third-Party Clipboards

You can find a few clipboard apps that offer universal access. Check these out:

  • Magic Copy
    Copy text or a link on one device, then open the Magic Copy app. That puts the copied material onto the clipboard. Then go to the other device and open Magic Copy. Now you can paste.

    UPDATE! A follower just wrote me this:

Hi Beth.

Having an iphone and a Surface tablet, I was much interested by your recent email about ways to communicate info between both (copy/paste).

I downloaded Magic Copy but don’t recommend it. The UX is awful, starting from the sign-up. I prefer using snapdrop. Very easy, no sign-up required, it works as magic (whereas Magic Copy doesn’t !!)

I registered the website on my phone homescreen and it looks like an app, and is as easy and convenient to use as an app !

  • Clipbrd
    Install the Google Chrome Extension and download the app onto your Android devices to copy in one and paste in the other.


efficiency, productivity, utility

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  • Thanks so much! This makes it a lot easier in my business which is real Estate based and I have multiple devices to deal with

  • To be clear, you can’t copy and paste across platforms, right? I mean, if I have a photo on my Apple iPhone, I can’t magically copy it from there and paste it onto my Windows PC, right? Cuz THAT would be freakin’ amazing!

    • Yes! That’s what this is all about… kind of! With photos, I’d use Pushbullet, an app that lets you push an image or file or site from one place to another. I didn’t mention it here because Pushbullet has lost some of its capabilities. But it would definitely do the image. I tried it out this morning.

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