The Universal Clipboard on macOS/iOS has been around since Sierra graced our desktops in 2016 and had the potential to be a real boon for productivity whilst switching devices. I’ve found the experience of implementing less than stellar and I know I’m not alone in this. I looked for a third-party application that would allow me to use this feature seamlessly, as well as a host of other configuration options and I’m so pleased to say that I have settled on Copied from a developer named Kevin Chang.
As you would expect for the features I require, there are two versions that need to be obtained. The Mac version can be purchased from the App Store for £7.99 and the iOS version is free (although there is a $2 in-app upgrade to unlock iCloud sync). Let me tell you how I use the Mac version first.
The first thing I love about the Mac application is that it sits in the menu bar and detaches when I need it. Click the icon and drag the application window to a location that suits you. You can also set a Global HotKey to show the application at any time (I use Caps Lock and C, using these instructions for modifying the Caps Lock key). Having a minimised interface is important to me and this suits well.
Using the application is easy. Firstly, be sure to set it to start on system launch (easily done from within the preferences) and then decide how many clips you wish to have stored. I have it set to the maximum (currently 1000). Every time you press ⌘+C, not only is the snippet stored on your macOS clipboard, it can be found retrospectively in Copied too. By default, it will be stored in the Copied list however here we can now talk about another great feature of Copied - lists and rules. You can create different lists to store batches of content. As an example, I have a list that contains copied images, another for website links, one for affiliate links. If you are of the mindset that craves organisation, rather than one big bucket for storing all of your stuff, then this is a great addition - especially when you pair it up with rules to automatically file them. There are application rules, hostname rules and Regular Expressions that can be configured to direct your clips to the appropriate list.
There are a wide variety of keyboard shortcuts that can be configured to your choosing. As you can see from my screenshot, I don’t use them all - my brain is starting to fill up with the custom shortcuts that need remembering for all of my apps! The key ones DO get used though and as a bare minimum I’d recommend setting the Show/Hide Copied one as well as the shortcuts for Copy Queued Clipping and Paste Queued Clipping. I find myself gathering up a list of clippings I know will need copying and love the ability to add them to a queue and paste them one at a time - very handy.
The Mac version offers so many options for configuration, it’s a power user’s dream. Using Templates, you can even copy text and paste it into a variety of formats. Copying a web link and want to paste in Markdown? Easy, set a keyboard shortcut and you’re away. Then browse to the URL, hit ⌘+C and paste using the new shortcut you’ve created - the URL will be in Markdown format. There are other templates for Plain Text, Source Title, Source URL, Link in HTML and Quote.
The iOS Version is a master-class. Like it’s Mac counter-part, there is a dark/light theme to suit your tastes and optional sounds to let you know Copied is doing it’s thing. Templates are available, as are Rules (although there are no Application rules, only Host Name and Regular Expressions). As I use my iOS devices primarily for research on the move, paying for the upgrade to allow for iCloud Sync was an absolute no-brainer for me and the core reason for buying both versions of the application. I may use multiple devices, however I’m one person so need one clipboard history.
Copying on iOS is reasonably straight forward and you have the following options. You can:
- Use the Share Extension to save content directly
- Use the Clipper Extension to modify/transform the rest beforehand
- Activate the Custom Keyboard to copy text from any application sporting a text field (I tend to mainly use the keyboard for pasting text though)
- Use the iOS Widget to save the clipboard
- Use the ‘Save Universal Clipboard’ setting to save anything that is copied from within another app - this is only available with Split View though.
I love Copied - it’s versatile, easy to use and feature-rich which is just what I look for in an application. Also - and most important for me - it solves an actual problem I had, rather than acting as a ‘nice-to-have’. This makes spending money a little easier!