A perfect little feature: Universal Clipboard

Perhaps in karmic balance of my previous post critical of one of Apple’s APIs, I want to highlight an Apple OS feature that I use every day, that ironically is so simple, obvious, and reliable that I almost never stop to appreciate it.

Universal Clipboard basically just means you can copy something on one device and paste it on another, as long as they’re physically near each other and signed into the same Apple ID. There is no step 3.

It’s such a beautiful feature, in concept and execution. Admittedly most of the time I use it merely to shuffle authentication codes from my iPhone to my Mac, but still – I love not having to temporarily memorise arbitrary numbers and then type them in manually.

I think what really elevates it to perfection is that it works. It sounds like such a vapid point, but it really makes all the difference. Nominally Universal Clipboard is just one of a family of similar features, under the Continuity moniker, but it’s the only one that actually works reliably and predictably. The only one!

Many of the other Continuity features are similarly great in concept, but just don’t work reliably. SMSes sometimes don’t sync to my Macs. AirPlay sometimes just won’t connect, or the video quality is comically bad. Unlocking my Macs with my Watch is a guessing game as to whether it feels like working today. AirDrop is so fussy and unreliable that it actually gives me anxiety if I even think of using it.

I wish Apple’s products had more features like Universal Clipboard.

Leave a Comment