Favorite apps: Copied

Sat, Mar 20, 2021 3-minute read

I think Copied is the best clipboard manager available for Apple devices.

I use Copied constantly. It lets me copy 3 different things I see on a web page, then quickly paste them into a text editor without bouncing between the two apps several times. It lets me search my history for stuff I've copied earlier, even if I've done other things since then. It's one of the first apps I install on a new device.

I have a few a hard requirements for a clipboard manager:

  • It must sync across all my devices. Sometimes I start work on my iPad, or even my iPhone, and later move to a Mac. Other times I start on my Mac then switch to a portable device. I want the things I've copied to be available in all these places.
  • It has to be rock solid. When I've become used being able to access my clipboard history, and then discover it's not available because the app has crashed and hasn't been recording, I'm not happy.
  • It's got to be quick. If I'm in the zone working on a project, I want to summon the app with a key press, select the item I want to paste with my keyboard, paste it with my keyboard, then have the app go away.
  • The user interface has to be simple. See above. A clipboard manager is a tool that I want to use for one thing and have it disappear until the next time I need it. I don't want to spend more time playing with its interface than is necessary. It's not an app I'm going to have open for a while as I poke around in it.

Copied meets all those requirements, and a one time $6 purchase (with family sharing!) covers Mac, iPad, and iPhone apps that sync together with iCloud. It's simple, quick, reliable, and available everywhere I work. And did I mention it's a one time purchase? There's nothing more I could want.

Note that development had paused for a long time after its version 3 came out, and the app stopped working on macOS Catalina. In late 2020 the author released an updated version 4 that works perfectly with Catalina and Big Sur. A few old reviews lament that it broke with an OS upgrade but that's old information.

If you've wished you could copy several things in a row and paste them, or recall something you copied last week, install Copied. It's great.

Alternatives

Apple's own Universal Clipboard is excellent, but limited: it uses only Bluetooth to sync directly between devices and requires them to be near each other, it doesn't keep a history of previously copied items, and it doesn't support older devices. You can't beat free, though.

Paste is another great app, but it has two things I don't like:

  • The user interface is pretty but much more complex. This is a matter of personal taste but I find it too powerful. Again, I want to pop in and out of a clipboard manager as quickly as possible, and don't want anything that slows this down or breaks me out of my thinking.
  • It's hella expensive at $10 per year, or $15 per year for the family plan. That's way more than I want to spend for a utility that spends almost all its time in the background.

Pastebot is a wonderful Mac-only app. If it had iOS and iPad apps that it synced with, I'd have a hard time deciding between it and Copied. Alas, it doesn't.

Gladys, Anybuffer, Yoink, and Unclutter are beautiful shelf apps, but are way more complicated than I want in a clipboard manager, and not as good at that specific task as the dedicated apps are. Several of these don't have cross-platform sync.