How to Use the Clipboard on Android Phones

Using the Android clipboard is easier than you think

Image of someone using an Android phone.

Pexels / Pixabay

It isn't very obvious how to use the clipboard on Android phones, but once you understand how the Android clipboard works, it becomes much easier.

Using the clipboard on an Android phone is as simple as using copy and paste. Highlight text in a text field and long press to choose Copy. Then you can long press any other empty field to select Paste and insert the copied text from the clipboard.

Where Is the Clipboard on an Android Phone?

When you save text to the clipboard on your Android, the information is stored in RAM by the clipboard service. On stock Android phones, there is no location on your phone where you can see that information. On Samsung phones, the clipboard history is stored in a file in the /data/Clipboard directory.

However, even on a Samsung phone, that file is not accessible without rooting the phone. But you can still access your clipboard history on any Android phone by using Clipboard manager apps.

If you're using an Android that does store the clipboard in a system folder, you may be able to view the file using Minimal ADB and Fastboot. However, since the clipboard folder is a root folder and accessible only with root access, it's likely that even though you can see the file with ADB, you won't be able to open it.

Using the Clipper Clipboard Manager

The easiest way to access your clipboard history is to use a clipboard manager app. The Clipper Clipboard Manager is one of the easiest Clipboard Managers to use. However, there are many available on Google Play to choose from.

  1. Log into Google Play and install the Clipper Clipboard Manager app.

  2. When you launch the Clipper Clipboard Manager, as you long press and copy text to save it to the clipboard, you'll see those show up in the clipboard log inside the app.

    Screenshot of the Clipper Clipboard Manager main page
  3. Pressing the three dots to the right of the clipboard snippet, you'll have access to view, edit, share, or even select that entry so that you can paste it anywhere else you like.

    Screenshot of the clipboard menu in Clipper Clipboard Manager
  4. Without a clipboard manager like Clipper, you'd only have access to the last item that you copied to the clipboard. But a clipboard manager gives you access to the clipboard history so you can use anything you've recently saved there.

How to Clear Your Android Clipboard

If you're copying and pasting sensitive information like passwords, the last thing you want is for that information to stay stored in your phone's memory.

It makes good security sense to delete sensitive clipboard items when you're done with them.

If you're using the Clipper Clipboard Manager, you'll notice when you select the three dots to the right of a selection, there's a Delete option. You can use this to clear out those clipboard items.

Another solution is to enable and use Gboard keyboard that's natively available on newer Android phones. If it isn't available on yours, you can install Gboard on Google Play.

  1. Open the messaging app on your Android and press the + symbol to the left of the text field. Then select the keyboard icon. When the keyboard appears, select the > symbol at the top of the keyboard. Here you can tap the clipboard icon to open the Android clipboard.

    Screenshot of the clipboard icon in Gboard
  2. If you've never used the clipboard before on your phone, you'll see a notification to turn on the Gboard clipboard. Just tap Turn on clipboard.

    Screenshot of turning on the Gboard clipboard
  3. Once you do this, any time you copy anything to the clipboard and then tap the clipboard on the Google Android keyboard again, you'll see a history of all recent items you've added to the clipboard.

    Screenshot of the Gboard clipboard
  4. To delete any of these items from the clipboard, tap the edit icon and select each item you want to delete. Then tap the trash icon to delete them.

    Screenshot of deleting items from the Android clipboard
  5. The clipboard manager that comes with your native keyboard app depends largely on the version and brand of your Android phone. For example, the Samsung Keyboard features a clipboard manager tool as well. The keyboard is typically the primary way to access and manage your clipboard without an app.