How to copy and paste images between your Apple devices with Universal Clipboard

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Knowing how to use your iPhone is something I thought I couldn't learn anything more about, but a viral TikTok trend just proved me wrong. Right now it seems every iOS user (myself included) is blown away by a hack/trick that you have to try out yourself to believe.

Using a three-finger pinch, you can copy and paste an image from your iPhone to your iPad (and vice versa.) But when you see the gesture in action, it looks more like you're picking up the image from one device and dropping it on the other. It's safe to say I was left speechless when I tried the feature out using my iPhone 11 and iPad mini 6.

After I confirmed it worked, I recorded and posted it to our TikTok account. If you follow Tom's Guide on TikTok, you might've seen it already. Otherwise you can check it out below:


♬ original sound - carlos ♚

Witchcraft, I tell you.

Of course it's not really magic. This neat trick is a part of Apple's Universal Clipboard feature that helps Apple devices on the same account work more directly together. Not to be confused with our guide on how to use Universal Control on Macs and iPads, Universal Clipboard lets you copy something on one device and paste in on another. 

We actually wrote an explainer on how to use Universal Clipboard on Mac, iPhone and iPad earlier this year, though the Universal Clipboard existed well before then. It's definitely one of the more underrated benefits of owning multiple Apple devices.

As long as your iPad and iPhone are set up to allow Handoff, you too can join in on the TikTok trend. Or maybe it's a tool that will actually make your life easier. Me? I can't say I'll need it much, since all my photos sync between devices thanks to a generous iCloud storage plan. But it'll make a great party trick.

Using the feature is truly as simple as our TikTok makes it look. Open a photo on your iPhone, pinch in your screen with three fingers and pinch out on your iPad with three fingers. Or start with an image on your iPad and paste it on your iPhone. 

Now that you know about this iPhone/iPad feature, you may be interested to know about another trick that boosts your AirPods volume instantly. Also check out some of our other guides, including the hidden iPhone features everyone should know, the iPhone trick that fixes your selfies immediatelyhow to get full-screen Caller ID on iOS 15 and how to transfer data from iPhone to iPhone. If you'd like to get an idea of how much your iPad is worth before upgrading, read our guide on how to check your iPad model and generation.

Also make sure you update your iPhone to IOS 15.4.1 as soon as possible

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.