How to Set Up, Use, and Troubleshoot Apple’s Universal Clipboard

“Universal Clipboard” was introduced by Apple in 2016 and is a feature as part of “Continuity.” Put simply, Continuity is the set of features allowing for devices running macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS to communicate with each other and complete tasks. One particular feature called Universal Clipboard lets you copy text or other multimedia from one device and paste it on another seamlessly over iCloud. The problem is it isn’t always as seamless as Apple would hope. This article will cover how to set up Universal Clipboard correctly and how to troubleshoot it if it is not working correctly.

Preliminary Steps

Verify that the devices you plan on using are signed into iCloud with the same Apple ID. On Mac iCloud settings are located within System Preferences. Likewise on iOS, iCloud settings are located at the top of the Settings app.

Bluetooth and Wifi will both need to be turned on. Now use the following steps to turn on each setting:


1. Swipe up from the bottom of the display to view the “Control Center”.

2. Tap the Bluetooth and WiFi icons.


1. Click the WiFi icon in the top menu bar to get connected.

2. Now, launch System Preferences and select Bluetooth.

3. Click “Turn Bluetooth On.”

How to Turn On and Use Universal Clipboard


By turning on Handoff on each Mac or iOS device, Universal Clipboard will be enabled immediately. Follow the next steps for every device you wish to use. For example, if you have two iPads, you will need to navigate settings to turn on Handoff on each device – these preferences unfortunately do not carry over on each iOS device.


1. Tap Settings on the home screen.

2. Now, tap General.

3. Tap Handoff.

4. Turn the slider to the “On” position.


1. Launch System Preferences.

2. Click General.

3. Near the bottom of the window, click “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices.”

To use Universal Clipboard, simply copy a piece of text or other multimedia from your Mac and paste it on your iOS device, or visa versa. This will work from Mac to Mac, iPhone to iPad, and more – the feature is solely reliant on all devices being logged into the same iCloud account with Bluetooth and WiFi turned on.


First and foremost, check your system requirements. Continuity features (including Universal Keyboard) will work on iPhone 5 or later and other iOS devices with a lightning connector. Any devices with the retired 30-pin charge and sync port do not have a supported version of iOS. In regards to the Mac, any model year 2012 or later will work.

Bugs can be a common thing. To help rule out this as a possible issue, keep all of your devices updated to the most current iOS or macOS, respectively.

It is not necessarily required that all devices be connected to the same WiFi network, but it can help. Also, in my experience, an active VPN can cause issues due to the dropping of connection, reconnection, and changing of regions. Try turning it off until you can rule out the VPN causing the issue.

Lastly, a restart will often do the trick, so it is worthwhile to not overlook this step. Try restarting your iOS and macOS devices.


The features of Continuity is part of why I love the Apple ecosystem, and Universal Keyboard in particular has saved me plenty of time. What is your favorite Continuity feature and what are you hoping to see at the upcoming WWDC 2017? Leave a comment below!

Image Credit: Apple Newsroom

Corbin Telligman
Corbin Telligman

I'm a junior at UT Dallas, a tech enthusiast, an adreneline junkie, and a coffee fanatic.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox