How to View Clipboard History on Mac

Have you ever copied anything on your Mac and then forgot to paste it later? And then again, you copied something? In this case, when you copy new content, older copied data will be removed automatically. Now the question is, how to find older copied content? In this case, the Clipboard feature will be helpful to view clipboard history. Note that your Macbook has only one clipboard.

When you copy something on your Mac, it will be automatically copied to the clipboard listing. You can paste that data wherever you want. But when you copy another text, your old clipboard data will automatically be removed from the list.

How to view and manage clipboard history on macOS

A Mac clipboard is a memory function, only designed to hold one item at a time. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. So it is very important to know where to find all copied data. You can find all your copied data using tools called clipboard managers. If you have the latest version of Mac OS X before July 2010, then you won’t be able to have the clipboard history using third-party apps. The functionality has been dropped into the Mac OS X Yosemite.

1. How does the macOS clipboard work?

macOS clipboard is a built-in tool in macOS, just like other OS like Android. It runs with the same basic features. It doesn’t require any space except for the data it currently holds. This also comes with some limitations. In a clipboard, you can’t just open it and access all copied data. Once you copy 2nd item, the first copied text disappears automatically. This is how the clipboard works, but you can increase this copy buffers size with Mac’s second clipboard.

2. Mac’s hidden secondary clipboard

As we mentioned above, macOS has a second clipboard for this copy and paste operation. This is something that many people don’t know about.

Here is how you can open secondary clipboard manager in mac.

  • Select any text > Control + K to cut it.
  • Use Control + Y to use it or copy it.

This command will cut the text rather than just copying it. It won’t remove the old copied content as it only works with the copy command. So this doubles the buffer size.

3. What is Mac’s Universal Clipboard

Universal Clipboard was introduced with macOS Sierra and iOS 10, like a clipboard manager app. It allows you to copy and paste your data across all Apple devices with the same iCloud account and connected to the same WiFi network.

Just keep your Apple device together. Then copy the text on one device and then on the second device, click paste. If you cannot copy, then make sure Bluetooth is turned on and connected to the same network. Also, try to log in and log out from your iCloud account.

Show Clipboard from the menu bar

4. How to view clipboard history

You can check your clipboard history using the paste command, which is (Command/⌘+V). That will show you the most copied item.

5. How to recover clipboard history on a Mac

As we already mentioned, your MacOS will only save the most recent copied file in the memory pool. So you can only access the recently copied item. You can do one thing unto the recent action and then paste it using ⌘ + Z.

You can use 3rd party apps like Paste or Unclutter to access all copied data as they store multiple items and allow you to view them easily. If you’re like many other mac users out there, though, you may find that clipboard history doesn’t really suit your needs unless you’re looking to keep track of multiple copies of the same item. This is when third-party software becomes important. There are various third-party software applications for keeping track of the copies you have made and the versions that others have created.

6. How to fix clipboard not working

 If the Copy and Paste is not working on your Mac, it could be your MacOS issue or keyboard.

To check if the issue is with your macOS or not, follow these steps:

Step 1: Select any text in the app, and then in the Edit menu, click on Copy.

Step 2: Now again, go to the Edit menu and click on Paste.

Step 3: If that works, then your OS is not an issue. The issue is with your keyboard. Check your keys and see if they are working fine or not.

If you are still facing the same issue again, then use Activity Monitor to fix the issue.

Step 1: Go to Apps > Utilities and then open Activity Monitor.

Step 2: In the search field, type pboard.

Step 3: It will show pboard process. Click it and press X to quit it.

Click Force Quit and then close Activity Monitor

Step 4: Then close Activity Monitor.

You can also force still it using the terminal.

Just open the terminal and type killall pboard command and then press enter.

killall pboard command

Once done, try to copy and paste in the app in which you are facing the error.

There are also several different clipboard management tools available for your Mac that you can use in conjunction with one another. One of those is the built-in copy/paste tool in the Safari browser. Another popular option is to use one of the various clipboard managers to download for free from the Apple website. An example is Clipperclip, which provides you with an editing function that lets you sort, organize, delete and move various items within your clipboard history list.

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Final Words

We hope you understand everything about Clipboard in macOS. If you are facing issues related to the clipboard then comment below.

Rahul Patel
Rahul Patel

Rahul is a blogger and a tech geek. By reviewing the latest technology and finding the solution of pesky errors, he feels immense pleasure. Driven by his innate interest in blogging, he adapted blogging as a full-time profession 4 years ago.

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