macOS Sierra’s New Universal Clipboard

By Bob LeVitus

New in macOS Sierra is Universal Clipboard, which lets you copy or cut an item on one device (say, your Mac), and then paste it on another device (say, your iPhone or iPad). Because it performs this magic using iCloud, the only requirements are as follows:

  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled.
  • Both devices have Handoff enabled. (It’s in System Preferences → General on your Mac and Settings →General → Handoff & Suggested Apps on your iOS device.)
  • Both devices are logged into the same iCloud account.
  • The devices are within a couple of feet of each other.

When these conditions are met, Universal Clipboard just works. If you cut or copy something on one device, you can paste it on another device for approximately two minutes after you cut or copy it; after a couple of minutes, however, all bets are off.

If it doesn’t work for you, check the Apple website to make sure both devices meet the system requirements. If both are supported and you still can’t make it work, try turning off Handoff on both devices, wait a minute or two, and then turn it back on. You might also try logging out of iCloud on both devices, restarting them, and then logging back into iCloud on both. Finally, some older Macs have issues with Continuity features like Handoff and Universal Clipboard even though they meet the specifications.