iPhones are great devices for everyday usage. Ordinary people and hardcore professionals prefer iPhones for their simplicity and features that can be used daily.
If you have owned an iPhone, you would know its pros and cons; this article is not about that.
One of the cons, though, is how iOS treats clipboard manager, or lack thereof!
Yes, iPhones don’t have a clipboard manager like their Android counterpart, and it also doesn’t have a number row on the stock keyboard, a story for another topic.
You might have used the iPhone clipboard more than you can count for copying and pasting text between apps. The built-in clipboard is pretty limited as it can store only one piece of information.
Mac users use the most-used Cmd + C and Cmd + V shortcuts, but users still don’t know where to access the clipboard from the iPhone. Unlike Windows desktops or MacBooks, there are no shortcut keys or an ‘Edit’ menu.
Apple may have deemed the clipboard manager too essential to add to the iOS. But many users use their iPhones quite a lot, even for work.
This guide is for users who want to access the iPhone clipboard.
Where is the clipboard on my iPhone
Now you know that iPhone keeps copying text or images only for one time, so there’s no way to access your clipboard history.
The iPhone clipboard is just barebones as there is no actual clipboard department to find all the text or images you have cut and copied.
That’s because iOS is restrictive and stores just one piece of information copied from the last snippet. You can access it by holding down the cursor in any text-based app and selecting Cut or Copy.
You can also use gestures to access the recent item you copied. Tap with three fingers on your iPhone’s screen, and the copy-cut menu will appear.
Here’s a complete list of what the gestures can do:
- Copy: Select the text and pinch it closed with three fingers.
- Cut: Pinch closed with three fingers two times.
- Paste: Pinch open with three fingers.
When you select ‘Paste’ from the said menu, you will see the information in the clipboard, which you can insert wherever text pasting is possible.
If you want to clear the iPhone clipboard entirely, click on a blank space until you see the text cursor. Now, press down and pick ‘Copy’ from the menu, and that space will eventually occupy the clipboard memory.
We have mixed feelings about using these gestures. This might be due to old habits or stubby fingers wrestling on the iPhone’s smaller screen, but you can try them yourself and see if they grow on you.
SwiftKey to Access your Recent Clipboards
I have tried several clipboard managers, and only a few turned out to be good – and those were paid ones, like PastePal.
If you are reluctant to download a clipboard manager, you can use a keyboard with an in-built keyboard.
This is where Microsoft’s SwiftKey keyboard comes in. It is one of the most popular third-party keyboards for Android, iPhones, and iPads. I have been using it for many years on Android and now on my iPhone.
It has many excellent typing suggestions, an optional number row missing from the stock iPhone keyboard, several themes, and a built-in clipboard manager. In this segment, I’ll put focus on the latter.
This option is for only those who are comfortable changing their keyboard entirely. You’ll have to re-adjust to typing habits and some other things.
If you want fixed sentences or replies, you can save that full reply in your SwiftKey clipboard and use it anywhere you want to with just a couple of taps!
Here’s how to use SwiftKey to save, access, and manage everything and anything you copy on your iPhone (The keyboard also works on an iPad) –
Step 1: Launch the App Store > Search for Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard and download it.
Step 2: Open the app and go through the process to set it up.
Step 3: To fully use the keyboard, you must go to iPhone Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard and choose SwiftKey. Now, click on SwiftKey and ‘Allow Full Access.’
Step 4: When you are done with the setup, open Apple Notes or a text-based app where the keyboard appears.
Step 5: Press the globe or emoji icon on the bottom left to change your default iPhone keyboard to SwiftKey.
Step 6: You’ll need to copy a text or link on your iPhone.
Step 7: Open the text-based app where you see the SwiftKey Keyboard on the screen and paste it.
Step 8: Now, click on the tiny plus icon (+).
Step 9: Tap on the Clipboard icon.
Step 10: iOS 16 users will see a pop-up. Choose ‘Allow Paste.’
Step 11: Click on Save. Now this clipboard is saved forever in your SwiftKey keyboard.
Step 12: Follow Steps 4 and 5 to access your saved clipboards. You can then tap on the clipboard icon to paste or insert it.
Apple introduced the Universal Clipboard, which allows you to copy and paste content across your Apple devices. But there are a few things you need to keep in mind to use it efficiently.
The following should be checked to make Universal Clipboard work with your Apple devices:
- Sign in with the same Apple ID.
- Turn on Wi-Fi for all devices and connect to the same Wi-Fi.
- Turn on Bluetooth and keep the devices within one another – about 10 meters.
- Enable ‘Handoff’ on all devices.
Let’s review what this feature does with this out of the way. Firstly, copy a text/image from any device and use the ‘Paste’ on the other device.
The copied content is then automatically added to the clipboard of your other nearby device and stays there until you replace it with another text or image on either device.
Remember that your MacBook needs to be on macOS 10.12 or later, iPhones with iOS 10 and later, and iPads with iPadOS 13 and later.
Third-Party Clipboard Managers for your iPhone
Here are some better clipboard managers to make your iPhone’s workflow robust.
Do iPhones have a clipboard?
iPhones have a clipboard, but it only simultaneously holds one piece of information.
Why is having a clipboard essential?
With a clipboard manager, you can copy multiple texts and copy anyone at any time. This feature is helpful for those who copy and paste many texts or images.
Are third-party clipboard managers for iOS reliable?
Yes, there are some excellent third-party clipboard managers for iOS. I have listed a few in this list, so ensure you get through it.
The clipboard scenario on iPhones (and Macs) is tricky and too basic.
The first time I bought an iPhone, I spent a few hours finding the clipboard manager before searching about it on the internet.
Being an Android user for almost a decade spoiled me with customizations and basics I took for granted.
This article shows different ways to access your cut-and-paste history.
You can use the Notes app or download a clipboard manager app. I have listed the best apps on this list, so go through them if you don’t have an app in your mind.
The built-in iPhone clipboard is barebones as it saves just one piece of information across apps. If you install a third-party app, you can make your iPhone useful in your daily hustle and bustle.
People who use their iPhones like a workhorse should install a clipboard manager as they are designed to help you save multiple clippings and then paste them anywhere.
I sincerely hope Apple adds a robust clipboard manager in iOS 17 next year as it’s a basic feature missing on an otherwise great smartphone experience.