Solve Your Mac OS X Clipboard Management Problems With iClip

Bakari Chavanu 21-11-2014

Anyone who does a lot of copying and pasting of text on a computer knows how essential a clipboard manager is. I’ve used quite a few over the years, and while there are several great solutions, Irradiated’s iClip ($18.99, free trial) rises above them all.


Over a year ago, I included iClip in a review of Mac clipboard managers Be More Productive With A Powerful Clipboard Manager [Mac] If you routinely copy and paste text and other items on your Mac and iOS devices, you will no doubt agree that Apple's default clipboard features are extremely lacking. Both the iOS and OS X... Read More , and at the time Clips was as my clipboard manager of choice. Clips, however, became unstable and was rarely updated. After trying a few other clipboard managers, I reopened iClip several months ago and discovered a few features I had previously overlooked.

This app was built with productivity in mind, and is fully Yosemite compatible. If you want to reduce the hassles of copying and pasting text or managing clippings, you should take iClip for a test drive.

Introducing iClip

iClip keeps a history of everything you copy on your Mac, including images, audio files, videos, and documents. Each of your clips are saved to an individual bin where you can use them to paste the content into another application. Clipboard history is pretty standard for most third-party clipboard managers, but iClip can increase your productivity with a few more tricks up its sleeve.


iClip can be parked and positioned on your desktop, and toggled when your mouse cursor touches a designated screen edge or with an assigned keyboard shortcut. This is convenient for clicking and pasting a clipping into another application, or for dragging and dropping a clipping into a bin.



iClip also allows for creating clipping sets, which permanently save clippings added to them. So for example, you may have a clipping set for a project, which might includes saved URLs, email addresses, template letters, and graphic files needed for quick access. Clippings in the Recorder bin can be moved or copied to a designated set and remain there until you remove them.


For power users, iClip also allows for searching clips, and for creating smart clipping sets that automatically filter results based on a search criteria. You might for example create smart set that captures all copied URLs from a designated website.



For Power Users

iClip is chock full of preferences for changing the skin of the application, assigning hot keys to a few dozen iClip functions, and for telling iClip what to do with your clippings when the application quits or is turned off.

IClip pref settings

It’s really worth the time to get acquainted with this part of the application if you want to take advantage the more powerful features. You can also set iClip not to record clips in selected applications, such as the password manager, 1Password Let 1Password for Mac Manage Your Passwords & Secure Data Despite the new iCloud Keychain feature in OS X Mavericks, I still prefer the power of managing my passwords in AgileBits's classic and popular 1Password, now in its 4th version. Read More .


If you don’t like taking your hands off the keyboard while typing, you can use an iClip hot key to activate the bin and paste one of the last nine clippings by simply clicking the corresponding number for the clip.

I’ve mapped an iClip hot key to a Keyboard Maestro action Automate Everything On Your Mac with Keyboard Maestro [Mac] I've written several articles about Mac automation, including a MUO Automation Guide on how to get started with Apple's Automator and the built-in OS X features for creating smart folders, playlists, albums, and mailboxes. But... Read More  which allows me to type a string of three letters to activate the iClip numbered bins feature, and then type the number for pasting the clipping I want – and I don’t have lift my hands to press the keyboard shortcut.

IClip numbers

Copied text in bins can also be edited and labeled for easier management, and a clipped URL or file can be opened from within a bin. If you work with a team of people on a project, you can export and share clippings with iClip users. Hot keys can also be assigned for clearing bins, copying clippings, and converting styled text to plain text.


I also map several hot keys to the automation program, Keyboard Maestro, and the finger gesture application, BetterTouchTool Even More Powerful BetterTouchTool Actions You Should Know About If you want more control over your Mac using your Magic Mouse or trackpad, BetterTouchTool puts hundreds of actions at your finger tips. Read More  so I can have several different ways to toggle the bins and quickly paste text.

The Best Clipboard Manager

Based on my experience with clipboard managers, I vote hands down for iClip as the best manager for Mac users. The only draw back is that it doesn’t sync with iOS devices like the multi-platform, Cloud Clip [No Longer Available]. Download iClip for a 30-day free trial, and let us know what you think of it.

Download: iClip ($18.99)

Do you use a clipboard manager?

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  1. orytek
    December 6, 2014 at 4:21 am

    Thanks for that info. I recently switched to Keyboard Maestro from a different macro app so I am just learning it. Hope to soon integrate KM with iClip to improve on and create new shortcuts. One thing is certain. iClip doesn't crash on me with heavy use and is a pleasure now that I have a stable clip manager.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 6, 2014 at 10:20 pm

      Awesome. Let me know if you need any ideas for using using Keyboard Maestro and iClip together. I hope I can get around to doing a few tutorials about it.

  2. orytek
    November 28, 2014 at 6:15 am

    iClip looks good Bakari. My biggest problem with most clipboard managers is that they are sandboxed and it takes an extra click or hotkey to paste text to the current application. From my short test with iClip it appears the hotclick preferences will allow me to paste with a single click. They have a downloadable version as well as a MAS version and I wonder if there is any difference between the two because of Apple's sandbox restrictions. Another must have for me in a clipboard manager is a way to show and hide the window with my mouse. Not a menubar but a shelf on the side which is closer. iClip has this too.

    For the longest time I have been using PTH Pasteboard which is a great app but hasn't been updated in years and is starting to crash when I do some serious copy and pasting.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 5, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Orytek, It appears that you have also been looking for the perfect clipboard manager. I've tried several of them, and iClip seems to be the best so far. I use it in combination with Keyboard Maestro and Dragon Dictate, which means I can actually voice activate copy and paste actions. I can use KM to activate iClip and paste a selected clip simply by typing a string of letters as a trigger. This is because iClip allows for keyboard shortcuts. I'm also using iClip as a sort of small notebook to clippings for various projects.

    • Irradiated Software
      December 11, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Orytek, iClip pre-dates the sandbox restriction, so it's "grandfathered" in and can paste with a single hotkey/hotclick, as you've seen. There's no functional difference between the MAS version and the version from our website.

  3. Massinissa
    November 21, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    Yes it accessible from the menu bar, but you can also have loose, so it is independent.

  4. Massinissa
    November 21, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Yes, I use Clipboard Center.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      November 21, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      Messinessa, thanks for letting us know about Clipboard Center. I was just looking at it on the site. I like how you can manage clippings in it, but can only reach it in the menubar?