How to View and Manage the Clipboard on Mac Devices?

How to View and Manage the Clipboard on Mac Devices
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The number of Mac users has been growing rapidly thanks to Apple’s dedication to creating sleek machines that are fast and durable machines.

One of the most important tools you’ll find on most computers today is the Clipboard.

As a Mac user, you might be wondering what the clipboard is and how you can use it.

In this article, I am going to answer these questions comprehensively.

While this is a technical subject, I will simplify everything for you to use this feature easily.

What is the Clipboard?

This amazing tool on your Mac allows you to cut, copy, and paste images or text in various applications.

How does the macOS clipboard work? It logs what you want to move around and allows you to place content elsewhere or its copy.

The Clipboard usually runs in the background. And that’s why you’ve never thought about it. It is a simple program that doesn’t take up a lot of space or processing power.

Learning how to view clipboard is pretty easy. Head to the Finder Menu and click on Show Clipboard.

Doing this will allow you to see the last item that you copied. It only shows recent items. When you copy something, the previous item will disappear.

Reading Setapp articles will help you learn more about clipboard shortcuts, clipboard alternatives, clipboard tricks on Mac, clipboard history, and Mac clipboard management.

You’ll also discover the best clipboard manager app for Mac and how to store multiple items.

Types of Clipboard on Mac

There are two types of Clipboard on Mac. They include:

1. Universal Clipboard

The Universal Clipboard was introduced in iOS 10 and macOS Sierra. This means that most Apple devices you’ll use have a Universal Clipboard.

This tool allows you to copy on your gadget and paste on another.

This only works if the two devices are connected to one Wi-Fi network, logged into the same iCloud account, and Bluetooth turned on.

If all these requirements are met, this tool can help you save time and boost productivity.

Apple is an amazing company because it prioritizes users’ convenience when creating products and apps.

The Universal Clipboard allows you to copy, cut, and paste content on your Mac.

You can easily perform these tasks using keyboard shortcuts. Start by highlighting the content that you want to cut or copy.

Use the following keyboard shortcuts:

  • Copy – Cmd + C
  • Cut – Cmd + X
  • Paste – Cmd + V

2. Secondary Clipboard

You should keep in mind that Apple devices have a secondary keyboard that is hidden.

It only works when you want to cut an image, text, or document and paste it to a new location.

To cut, press Control + K. To paste, press Control + Y. Since it only cuts content, it won’t remove what you’ve copied recently from the keyboard.

MacOS storage clipboard is usually short. What does this mean? How do you access the limited history?

How to View Clipboard History on Mac?

As we said earlier, Mac clipboards have short memories. This means that they don’t keep a long history of what you’ve copied.

They only save the last item cut or copied on your computer. They use little space and memory to run.

While this is good for the performance of your computer, you can’t re-paste anything you had copied before since it doesn’t keep track of the history.

However, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to access history to know the content that was last cut or copied to it.

On the Finder menu, click on Edit and select Show Clipboard on the dropdown menu.

After doing this, you’ll see a pop-up showing the last item you copied to the clipboard.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t work on the secondary clipboard.

You can use mini clipboards with the main clipboard to cut images or text and move them around to allow the main clipboard to hold items you need to paste.

If both clipboards don’t give you the support you need, you should consider using a clipboard manager for better histories.

How Does a Clipboard Manager Work?

A clipboard manager is a tool that allows you to cut, copy, and paste items as much as you want. You don’t have to rewrite every time you cut or copy a new thing.

The clipboard manager remembers everything you cut and copy.

This means you can cut and copy everything you require and paste them in the preferred order.

It is an amazing tool that saves important information and boosts productivity.


As a Mac user, knowing how to view and manage your clipboard will greatly boost your productivity and performance.

If you are worried about clipboards’ limited history, don’t fret. You can solve this problem by using a clipboard manager.

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