Transferring the contents of your Mac’s clipboard to your iPhone or iPad usually involves sending yourself an email or message, but that’s cumbersome and inefficient. These days, there are better ways.
Bakari has extensively reviewed powerful Mac clipboards that offer such functionality, but I wanted something simpler and easier. Two new apps caught my eye: Command-C ($3.99) works via Wi-Fi and is a two-way system, where you can access Mac data on your iOS and vice versa; Scribe ($2.99) is Bluetooth-only and has only one route, Mac to iOS.
Let’s check them out.
As noted, Command-C needs a Wi-Fi connection to work, with both of your Mac and iOS devices connected to the same network. You can connect multiple devices, they just need to using the same iCloud account.
The setup is really easy and once you’re done, all you need to remember is the shortcut key: Cmd+Shift+X. Select your text, URL or image and hit that on your Mac. It will prompt the status bar icon to drop down and show you a list of all the connected devices. Navigate to what you want and hit Enter. Your clipboard will be synced to your iOS gadget.
The other way around works perfectly too. Copy anything on your iPhone, like the photo you just took, head to the Command-C app and tap the desired device to share clipboards. It’s simple, it’s easy and it works just as advertised.
There are two limitations to Command-C. First, it requires an active Wi-Fi network to which all the devices are connected. Second, it only syncs the most recent clipboard item; you’ll have to look elsewhere for multi-item clipboard managers for Mac or iOS.
To its credit, Command-C lets you customize the hotkey, behavior (notifications, prompts) and change appearance (select how many devices to display). It costs $3.99 on iOS, with the Mac counterpart application being free to download. If you mostly use only Apple devices and are usually connected to Wi-Fi, I’d say it’s well worth the money for the convenience and “it just works” ease.
- Easy to use and “just works”
- Two-way copy-pasting
- Limited to Wi-Fi network connectivity
- No multi-item clipboard
So what do you do if there’s no Wi-Fi to let Command-C work? Well, as long as your Apple devices have Bluetooth LE, Scribe has you covered. Bluetooth LE is supported on: iPhone 4S or newer, iPad 3 or newer, iPad Mini or newer, Macbook Air 2011 or newer, Mac Mini 2011 or newer, Macbook Pro 2012 or newer and Mac Pro Late 2012 or newer.
Like Command-C, you need to install the app on your Mac and iOS. And like Command-C, it uses the Cmd+Shift+X shortcut – but this time it isn’t customizable. Also unlike Command-C, Scribe has only one-way communication: it takes content from your Mac and puts it on iOS, not the other way around. But the advantage of this is that Scribe has a multi-item clipboard manager on iOS letting you copy-paste multiple text, URL or image entries and browse through all of them easily.
However, since it uses Bluetooth for communication, it only supports small images and the transfer is really slow. Also, copy-pasting images isn’t as easy as it is on Command-C. It’s disappointing, especially for scenarios like quickly transferring a photo to share it on instant messaging.
Scribe costs $2.99 on the Mac App Store, but if you travel often and don’t have a Wi-Fi network all the time, then having this easy connectivity between your iPhone or iPad and your Mac might just be worth it. I’d recommend assessing how often you’re connected to Wi-Fi, and only if it’s not frequent, shell out the money for Scribe.
- Easy to use, except for images
- One-way copy-pasting (Mac to iOS only)
- Not customizable
- Limited to Bluetooth LE connectivity
- Multi-item clipboard
There is a cross-platform, free and no-install solution to avoiding both these apps in the form of the web app Hopper. All you need is a browser and you’ll be good to go. But the problem is that Hopper stores all your data on its servers, so privacy isn’t guaranteed.
That’s the one big advantage of both Command-C and Scribe: since they work on local connectivity (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth), your data is never going to the company. In fact, Command-C even encrypts the data over Wi-Fi while syncing it between the two devices on the network.
How important is such privacy or security to you when you buy an app? Personally, I don’t really care about this, but I recognize I may be in the minority, so I’d like to know how it affects your buying decision and to what degree, so please leave a comment!