How to Use the Clipboard on Android Phones

Using the Android clipboard is easier than you think

What to Know

  • Easiest: Download Clipper Clipboard Manager or an alternative app from Google Play.
  • Highlight the text, long-press the selected text, then choose Copy. Long-press an empty field and select Paste to insert the copied text.
  • Alternative method: Use the Gboard keyboard to manage the clipboard.

This article explains how to use Clipper Clipboard Manager to access the clipboard history on an Android and clear it. Additional information covers how to use the Android Gboard keyboard if you don't use a clipboard manager app.

How to Use the Clipper Clipboard Manager

The easiest way to access your clipboard history is to use a clipboard manager app. Although Clipper Clipboard Manager is one of the easiest to use, Google Play has many alternatives to choose from.

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

  2. Launch the Clipper Clipboard Manager. When you long-press and copy text to save to the clipboard, it appears in the Clipboard log inside the app.

    The Clipboard tab in Clipper for Android
  3. Press the three dots to the right of the clipboard snippet to open a menu with more options.

    The More menu
  4. In this menu, you can View, Edit, Share, or Select that entry so that you can paste it anywhere you like.

    Screenshot of the clipboard menu in Clipper Clipboard Manager
  5. Without a clipboard manager like Clipper, you'd only have access to the last item that you copied to the clipboard. However, 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 using the Clipper Clipboard Manager, you'll notice a Delete option when you select the three dots to the right of a selection. Use this to clear out those clipboard items.

Another solution is to enable and use the Gboard keyboard that comes with 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.

    The plus sign
  2. Select the keyboard icon. When the keyboard appears, select the > symbol at the top. Here, you can tap the clipboard icon to open the Android clipboard.

  3. If you've never used the clipboard before on your phone, you'll see a notification to turn on the Gboard clipboard. To do so, tap Turn on clipboard.

    The "Turn on clipboard" button
  4. With the clipboard on, any time you copy something 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.

    Screenshot of the Gboard clipboard
  5. To delete any of these items from the clipboard, first tap the edit icon.

    The Edit icon
  6. Select each item you want to delete and tap the trash icon to delete them.

    The Trash icon
  7. The clipboard manager that comes with your built-in keyboard app depends largely on your Android phone version and brand. 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.

Where Is the Clipboard on an Android Phone?

When you save text to the clipboard on your Android, the clipboard service stores the information in RAM. On stock Android phones, you can't access that data directly. On Samsung phones, the clipboard history exists in a file in the /data/Clipboard directory.

Even on a Samsung phone, that file is not accessible without rooting the phone, but you can access your clipboard history on any Android phone by using a clipboard manager app.

If you're using an Android that stores 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.

  • How do I cut and paste on Android?

    To cut and paste on Android, tap and hold a word until highlighted, then drag the handles to highlight the desired text and tap Cut. In another app, tap and hold, then tap Paste.

  • How do I add a website shortcut on Android from the clipboard?

    To create a home screen shortcut on Android for a website, open the site in Chrome and tap the three dots > Add to Home screen. There's no need to copy the website address to the clipboard.

  • Where is the clipboard on Instagram for Android?

    In Instagram comments, tap and hold, then tap Clipboard and choose the content from your clipboard. When posting Instagram Stories, tap the Aa icon, tap and hold the text entry box, then tap Clipboard.

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