On Jan. 10, a developer named Danilo Torissi released a useful iOS app that lets you copy and paste text and images between iOS devices and Macs, as long as they are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. The app, Command-C ($4), works as advertised but desperately needs a decent tutorial.
The developer’s online tutorial zips by quickly, making it difficult to grasp how to use the iOS app and its required, but free, Mac app counterpart. The FAQ isn’t much help either, at least in terms of explaining how to copy and paste between the two operating systems.
If the ability to share clipboard content between iOS and Mac OS seems enticing, it’s worth learning how to make it happen. After installing the iOS and Mac apps, you need to pair them on the same Wi-Fi network, which the FAQ explains adequately. (Clipboard data is protected with AES256 encryption, the developer says, and is not sent over the Internet.)
Let’s say you want to copy an iPhone image to your Mac, something I frequently do for this blog. Here’s how:
1. Copy the image on your iPhone by press-tapping, or tapping and holding it. When the “Copy” menu pops up, tap it to copy the image to your iOS clipboard.
2. In the Command-C iOS app, tap to select the connected Mac and send the image to the computer’s clipboard.
3. On your Mac, you should receive a Command-C app notification. Banner notifications is the app’s default style. Tap the notification.
4. The image copied from your iPhone then opens in the Mac’s Preview app.
(Tip: Banner notifications on Mac vanish quickly from your screen. To give yourself more time, go into your Mac’s Settings. In Notifications for Command-C, choose “Alerts.” Alerts stay on your screen until you dismiss them.)
Here’s how you’d copy a website link from your Mac to view on your iPhone.
1. Copy the link on your Mac.
2. Click to access the Command-C Mac app. A shortcut to the app is automatically placed on the Mac’s top menu bar. In the app’s drop-down menu, you see your connected iPhone. Double tap to select it and send the copied link to the smartphone’s clipboard.
3. On your iPhone, you should receive a Command-C notification. Click the link in the notification to open the Web page in Safari. If you already have Safari open on your iDevice, the link you copied will automatically take you to the desired website.
Alternatively, go to the iOS Safari app and tap the URL/search bar until the “Paste” menu appears. Tap “Paste,” and the URL loads in the URL bar. Tap “Go” to jump to the Web page.
It took a while to get the hang of Command-C. But it was time well spent, because I’ll be using this app frequently.
Command-C isn’t your only option for copying and pasting between Apple’s two OSes, of course. If you just want to copy text on occasion, paste it into the Notes app on either platform. As long as you’ve set up iCloud syncing between Notes on iOS and Mac OS, you’re good to go. Also, Apple’s iCloud Photo Stream automatically shares photos between devices. Still, having one app that can copy text and images easily (once you’re past the learning curve) is nice.
Scribe, which launched Jan. 16, is a Command-C competitor. It consists of a free iOS app and a $3 Mac app. Scribe’s advantage: Because it connects devices via Bluetooth (Low Energy), your iDevice and Mac don’t need to be on the same Wi-Fi network. The downside: Scribe only works with recent Mac and iOS models, while Command-C supports older devices.
If you have a newer Mac and iPhone and are frequently on the go, Scribe may be the better option. Otherwise, give Command-C a try.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.