3 Shortcuts for Teleporting Web Links between Your Apple Devices

The iPhone is great for quickly viewing a Web page on the go, but what if you later want to work with it on a bigger screen? Or, what if you come across an interesting article on your Mac over breakfast, but want to finish reading it on your iPad later in the day? There are several simple methods of transporting a Web page among your Apple devices, but it can be difficult to pick the best one. Here are your best options.

Hand It Off

Apple’s Handoff feature is ideal when you want to move a Web page to another device immediately. Make the switch as follows:

  • If that other device is a Mac, click the Handoff/Safari icon that appears at the left (or top) of your Dock.

  • If that other device is an iPhone or iPad, look on the Lock screen for a Safari icon and then swipe up on that icon. Or, double-press the Home button to access the App Switcher and tap the Safari bar at the bottom of that screen.

Open a Tab

When you open a page in Safari, it appears in a tab. You can see this easily on your Mac in the Tab Bar (if you don’t see it, choose View > Tab Bar). It gets more interesting, however, when you view all the open tabs on all your Apple devices. To do this, click (or tap) theTabs  button, which appears at the top of Safari on the Mac and iPad, and at the bottom of the screen on the iPhone.

In the Tab view, you first see tabs from the device you are using. Beneath them (and you may need to scroll down) are the tabs from your other Apple devices. To open a tabbed page, click (or tap) its listing. Presto!

Assign It as Reading

Safari can store a list of pages that you want to read later in its Reading List, which is ideal for magazine-style articles that you want to return to when you have time to focus.

To add the current page to your Reading List on the Mac, choose Bookmarks > Add to Reading List. On your iPhone or iPad, tap the Share button and then tap Add to Reading List.

To access your Reading List in Safari on the Mac, choose View > Show Reading List Sidebar. In Safari on your iOS device, tap the Book icon and then tap the Eyeglass icon. Then, select the article you want to read to load it.

For most people, these techniques should just work, as is the Apple way, but they do rely on a lot of wizardry behind the scenes. If you have trouble, make sure that:

  • All your devices are signed in to the same iCloud account
  • Safari is enabled in System Preferences > iCloud on the Mac and in Settings > iCloud in iOS

Handoff has a few additional requirements, so ensure that:

  • Every device has Bluetooth turned on and is connected to the same Wi-Fi network
  • Handoff is on in System Preferences > General on the Mac and in Settings > General in iOS. If you don’t see a Handoff option, your device is too old to support Handoff.

Once you’re up and running, you’ll be zapping Web links back and forth between your devices with ease!

Universal Clipboard’s Six Requirements

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Install macOS 10.12 Sierra on your Macs and iOS 10 on your iOS devices and you’ll get a cool new feature: Universal Clipboard. As you’d expect from the name, Universal Clipboard transfers anything you copy to all your devices so you can paste anywhere. Copy some text on your iMac and a few seconds later you can paste it on your MacBook Air, your iPhone, or your iPad. Or copy an incoming phone number in the Phone app and paste into an email message on your iMac. Universal Clipboard even works with graphics and videos.

Neither Sierra nor iOS 10 provides any interface for Universal Clipboard at all. You can’t turn it off or configure it in any way. In other words, it should just work. But what if it doesn’t? It turns out that six things must be true for Universal Clipboard to work. Miss any of these and Universal Clipboard will fail to copy the clipboard contents from device to device without warning. The requirements are as follows:

  1. Any Macs involved must have been introduced in 2012 or later, or, in the case of the Mac Pro, 2013 or later. Choose  > About This Mac to check your Mac’s age. Since Sierra runs on most Macs introduced since late 2009, Universal Clipboard won’t work on some older but otherwise Sierra-capable Macs.
  2. All Macs must be running macOS 10.12 Sierra or later, and all iOS devices must be running iOS 10 or later.
  3. All the devices must be on the same Wi-Fi network. This requirement can be tricky since devices might join different Wi-Fi networks if several are available. On a Mac, look in the Wi-Fi menu bar menu, and on an iOS device, check Settings > Wi-Fi.
  4. Each device must have Bluetooth enabled and be within Bluetooth range of the other devices. That’s usually about 30 feet, but it’s safest to assume that both devices need to be in the same room. On a Mac, check in System Preferences > Bluetooth. On an iOS device, open Settings > Bluetooth.
  5. All the devices must be signed in to the same iCloud account, and that account must be the primary iCloud account on each device. To see which account is signed in, on a Mac, look in System Preferences > iCloud. On an iOS device, check Settings > iCloud.
  6. Handoff must be enabled. On Macs, turn it on in System Preferences > General. On iOS devices, the necessary switch is in Settings > General > Handoff.

If you still have trouble after verifying that your setup meets the six requirements above, make sure that your Wi-Fi connection is working well on each device, and that each device can connect to the Internet. If either of those isn’t true, Universal Clipboard may not transfer the clipboard contents.

When it’s working, Universal Clipboard takes just a few seconds to move the contents of the clipboard from device to device, and the transferred item remains available for pasting for about two minutes. It’s a subtle, but welcome addition to the Apple experience.