How to See Clipboard History on Your Mac in 3 Easy Steps

Key Takeaways
  • Clipboard history on Mac is a feature that keeps track of items you've copied or cut, allowing you to access and paste them later.
  • You can access clipboard history on Mac by selecting "Show Clipboard" from the Edit menu.
  • If you encounter issues while aceessing the clipboard, restart your Mac or contact Apple Support.

Clipboard history on Mac is a feature designed to revolutionize how users manage and access copied content. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the uses, functionalities, and troubleshooting tips surrounding clipboard history, empowering you to maximize productivity and streamline your workflow on macOS.

Mac Clipboard

What is Clipboard History?

Clipboard history is a feature that keeps track of items you’ve copied to your clipboard, allowing you to access and paste them later. On Windows PCs, you can access clipboard history by pressing Windows key + V. On Android phones, clipboard history functionality varies; some devices offer built-in clipboard managers or support for third-party apps.

Windows clipboard

On iOS and macOS devices, clipboard history operates slightly differently than on the Windows and Android platforms. iPhones do not have a clipboard history feature, while Macs have them. Keep reading to learn more about accessing them.

↪ Uses of Clipboard History on Mac

Clipboard history on Mac provides users with a convenient way to access previously copied items, enhancing productivity and workflow efficiency. Here’s how you can use it:

  1. Multitasking: Easily switch between copied items without having to re-copy them.
  2. Referencing: Quickly reference previously copied text, links, or images.
  3. Copying Multiple Items: Store multiple items in the clipboard for later use.
Clipboard helps in multitasking

READ MORE: How to View Your Clipboard History in Windows ➜

How to Access Clipboard History on Mac

Follow these steps to easily access and view the current contents stored in your macOS clipboard.

Step 1: Open the Finder

Access the Finder application by clicking its icon in the Dock or selecting your desktop.

Launch Finder

Step 2: Access the Edit Menu

Navigate to the top menu bar and click on “Edit.”

Select Edit

Step 3: Select “Show Clipboard”

From the dropdown menu that appears, choose “Show Clipboard.” It will display the Mac clipboard. But keep in mind that the clipboard only displays the last item you copied, not a list of the copied items in the past hour or so. This is a disadvantage of Mac’s clipboard, as you can only access what you copied recently.

Click on Show Clipboard

READ MORE: How to Copy and Paste on a Mac in 3 Different Ways [2024] ➜

Alternative Third-Party Clipboard Apps for Mac

Alternative third-party clipboard apps for Mac provide extended clipboard history, advanced features such as iCloud sync and custom shortcuts, and improved organization options. They enhance productivity and offer customization for individual preferences, making clipboard management on Mac more versatile and user-friendly. Here are some of them:

1. CopyClip

CopyClip is a lightweight clipboard manager that runs discreetly in the background, automatically saving everything you copy. It provides quick access to your clipboard history and allows you to efficiently organize and manage your copied items.

CopyClip App on Mac

2. Paste

It is a comprehensive clipboard manager with a visually appealing interface and advanced features such as iCloud sync, custom keyboard shortcuts, and the ability to create pinboards for frequently accessed items.

Paste clipboard App

3. Flycut

Flycut is a simple clipboard manager that stores a history of your copied text snippets. It runs in the background and provides quick access to your clipboard history via a customizable keyboard shortcut.

FlyCut on Mac App Store

READ MORE: Screenshotting in Mac: 9 Ways to Easily Capture the Screen ➜

Troubleshooting Clipboard Issues

If you encounter issues while accessing the clipboard or pasting stuff through it on your Mac, here’s what you can do:

  1. Restart Your Mac: Restarting your Mac can resolve temporary glitches or conflicts within the system that may affect the clipboard. Go to the Apple menu, select Restart, and test the copy-paste functionality afterward.
  2. Kill the WindowServer Process: Killing the WindowServer process via Activity Monitor can potentially resolve copy-paste issues by refreshing the system and user interface.
  3. Update macOS: Ensure your Mac runs the latest version by navigating to System Preferences > Software Update. Updating macOS can address bugs or glitches affecting copy-paste functionality.
  4. Force Quit the Pboard Server: Use Activity Monitor or Terminal to force quit the Pboard server process, which handles copy-paste operations. This may help refresh the clipboard functionality.
  5. Try a Third-Party Clipboard App: If native methods fail, consider using a third-party clipboard utility. Install the app, right-click the item to copy, select Copy To, and choose the destination.
  6. Contact Apple Support: If none of the above steps resolve the issue, consider reaching out to Apple Support for further assistance. They can provide additional troubleshooting steps or help diagnose hardware-related problems with your Mac’s clipboard functionality.
Contact Apple Support

READ MORE: How to Find & Use the Instagram Clipboard on Android & iOS ➜

Wrapping Up

In summary, mastering the clipboard on your Mac is key to optimizing your daily tasks. Whether using standard processes, exploring alternative methods, or employing third-party apps, efficient copying and pasting can significantly enhance your workflow.

While macOS’s native clipboard has some limitations, such as the inability to view history without additional tools, staying up-to-date with macOS updates offers valuable functionalities to ensure a seamless user experience across your Apple devices.


Can I view images and files in the clipboard history on Mac?

Yes, you can view images and file names in the clipboard history on Mac.

How long does Mac keep clipboard history?

Mac typically keeps clipboard history until you restart your computer.

Does clipboard history on Mac sync across multiple devices?

Yes, if you have Handoff enabled, clipboard history may sync across multiple devices logged in with the same iCloud account.

Can I disable clipboard history on my Mac?

There isn’t a built-in option to disable clipboard history on Mac.


Kamil Anwar

Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.