Fix: Universal Clipboard Not Working Between iPhone, iPad, Mac

Copying text from your iPhone and pasting it on your Mac offers great convenience.

However, if you frequently use the Universal Clipboard for daily tasks, it can be frustrating when this feature malfunctions.

In this guide, I’ll explain how to troubleshoot the Universal Clipboard when it’s not functioning between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Let’s jump right in.

1. Check Universal Clipboard Compatibility and OS Versions

First, ensure your devices are compatible with Universal Clipboard and running the required operating system versions:

  • Your iPhone and iPad should have iOS/iPadOS 10 or newer.
  • Your Mac needs macOS Sierra 10.12 or newer.
  • All devices must be signed into iCloud with the same Apple ID.
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi should be active on each device.
  • Ensure all devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network and within Bluetooth range.

Related: How to Fix Can’t Select Text to Copy and Paste on iPhone

2. Restart Bluetooth & Wi-Fi Connections

Since Universal Clipboard relies on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, refreshing these connections on your devices can often resolve issues.

On Your iPhone/iPad:

  1. Swipe down from the upper right corner to open the Control Center.
  2. Tap the Wi-Fi icon to turn it off (it turns white).
  3. Tap the Bluetooth icon to disable it (the icon will turn white).
Control Center iOS
  1. Wait for 5-10 seconds.
  2. Return to the Control Center to reactivate Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

On Your Mac:

  1. Click the Wi-Fi icon on the Toolbar.
  2. Click the toggle next to Wi-Fi to turn it off.
  3. Click the Bluetooth icon.
Control Center Mac
  1. Turn off Bluetooth using the adjacent toggle switch.
  2. Wait for 5-10 seconds, then re-enable both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Related: 8 Ways to Fix iPhone Won’t Connect to Bluetooth 

3. Disable and Re-Enable Handoff Feature

Universal Clipboard is a part of the Handoff feature. Refreshing Handoff can resolve copy-paste issues between devices.

On Your iPhone/iPad: 

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Navigate to General > AirPlay & Handoff.
  3. Toggle Handoff off and then on again.
universal clipboard not working

On Your Mac: 

  1. Click the Apple logo in the top left corner.
  2. Select System Settings.
  3. Choose General from the sidebar.
  4. Under AirDrop & Handoff, disable Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices.
Handoff Settings
  1. Restart all your devices and re-enable handoff. 

Related: 3 Ways to Fix When Apple ID is Disabled 

4. Sign Out and Re-Log Into Your Apple ID

As mentioned above, Universal Clipboard requires the same Apple account on all devices. 

If copy-paste functionality is compromised, sign out of your Apple ID on all devices and log back in. This process refreshes account information and data.

On Your iPhone/iPad: 

  1. First, open the Settings app
  2. Tap your Profile at the top. 
  3. Scroll down and select Sign Out
universal clipboard not working
  1. If Find My iPhone is active, enter your Apple ID password and choose Turn Off

On Your Mac: 

  1. Click on the Apple icon in the top left corner. 
  2. Navigate to System Settings
  3. Click your Profile in the sidebar. 
  4. Select Sign Out and follow the prompts. 
universal clipboard not working

After restarting your devices, sign back into your Apple ID.

Related: What You Can Do With An Apple ID Without An Apple Device?

5. Reset Network Settings (iPhone and iPad)

Resetting network settings can resolve issues with Handoff, as Universal Clipboard depends on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Navigate to General > Transfer or Reset iPhone (or iPad).
  3. Tap Reset.
  4. Choose Reset Network Settings and confirm the prompts. 
universal clipboard not working

Important Notes:

  • Your device will restart immediately after the network reset. 
  • It may temporarily display the Apple logo; allow 5 to 10 minutes for the process to complete.

Related: How to Fix iPhone Not Connecting to Known Wi-Fi Network

6. Execute Custom Terminal Commands (Mac)

If Universal Clipboard still isn’t working, using specific Terminal commands can automatically adjust your system settings:

  1. Open Finder on your Mac. 
  2. Navigate to Applications > Utilities
  3. Double-click Terminal to open it. 
  4. In Terminal, enter and execute these commands sequentially:
defaults read ~/Library/Preferences/ ClipboardSharingEnabled
defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/ ClipboardSharingEnabled 1
  1. Restart your Mac and test the copy-paste functionality between devices.

Related: How to Fix No Manipulations with Clipboard Allowed Error on Mac

7. Update All Devices to the Latest Software Versions

An underlying software issue on any of your devices could disrupt Handoff and Universal Clipboard. Ensure all devices are updated to the latest software versions.

Updating your iPhone/iPad

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Go to General > Software Update.
  3. If an update is available, tap Download and Install, then follow the on-screen instructions.
Update iPhone

Important Notes:

  • Your device may restart multiple times during the update.
  • Ensure it’s at least 50% charged, or keep it connected to a charger.
  • Allow around 15 minutes for the update, especially for major versions.

To enable automatic updates:

  1. Navigate to Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Updates.
  2. Turn on Download iOS/iPadOS Updates and Install iOS/iPadOS Updates.
Auto Update

Updating your Mac

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top left corner.
  2. Choose System Settings.
  3. Proceed to General > Software Update and follow any available update prompts.
universal clipboard not working

Important Notes:

  • Your Mac may restart several times during the update.
  • If the update progress seems stuck, wait patiently as it can take several minutes.

Related: How to Fix iPhone Stuck on Preparing Update


How do I fix the universal clipboard not working?

When the Universal Clipboard isn’t functioning, first try refreshing the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections on your devices. This feature depends on Handoff, which utilizes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for inter-device connectivity. Additionally, updating your devices can resolve any software issues that might be hindering the Universal Clipboard’s performance.

How do I turn on universal clipboard?

On iPhone/iPad: 

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Go to General > AirPlay & Handoff.
  3. Enable Handoff by toggling the switch.

On Mac: 

  1. Click the Apple logo at the top left corner of your screen.
  2. Open System Settings.
  3. Select General from the sidebar.
  4. In the AirDrop & Handoff section, enable Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices.

Does universal clipboard need wifi?

Yes, Universal Clipboard depends on Handoff, which requires both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections to synchronize devices.

If this guide helped you, please share it. 


  • John Sixto

    John is a staff writer at Saint and comes from a SAP ABAP development background. He has a Bachelors in IT and has been writing since 2018, with over 500 posts published. He loves to build PCs and has a deep curiosity in understanding how different components and configurations work. John spends hundreds of hours at a time, researching and testing the software and apps, before he proceeds to write about it. LinkedIn X (Twitter) Website

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