Quickly and easily sharing information between Macs and iOS devices is something many of us need to do regularly. If you need to share a grocery list, link, phone number, library call number, or image file between a Mac and an iOS device, there are many options for getting the information on one device or the other. For example, you can email it to yourself, make a new note in one of the many cross-device syncing notes apps, or edit a Dropbox file.
But what if sharing that information were as easy as copying it to the system clipboard? The three apps included in this comparison review—CloudClipboard, CloudClip Manager, and Cloud Clip—all use iCloud to sync your clipboard between Mac and iOS devices. (Yes, it was hard to keep these straight for the review.) This can potentially make sharing that grocery list between devices much easier, but which app should you go with? Read on to find out our top choice.
Do These Apps Work?
Yes. All of these apps performed as they should in my testing. I never ran into an problems syncing my clipboard with any of the three apps—even when I tried to get tricky and copy information to the clipboard with no internet connection. When I reconnected, the clipboards would sync. Sync was also relatively fast. I would compare the speed to syncing notes in Evernote or Simplenote in all three apps. While all the apps worked as expected, each clearly had its strengths and weaknesses.
The one thing that stood out with CloudClipboard ($4.99) on both the Mac and iOS devices is the UI. Rather than just presenting a list of all your clippings, this app automatically organizes them into different categories: All, Text, Links, Web Clippings, and Images. CloudClipboard is also clearly the best looking of the three.
CloudClipboard also offered a couple of features not available with the other utilities. First, it allows users to download images to the hard drive, which could come in handy. Second, clippings can be titled. This feature combined with the categories make it possible to use CloudClipboard like an information manager in addition to a clipboard manager. Finally, you can choose to have the app include everything in your clipboard, or set a key combination that can be used to clip only certain clippings into the app.
One issue with the this app is the lack of a menubar only option—the other apps in this review both allow menubar only access. While you can close the apps window and leave it running in the dock, it would be nice to be able to access the interface from the menubar.
Update: It looks like CloudClipboard for Mac was updated today and now has a menubar option!
CloudClipboard’s iOS version ($2.99) has the same basic interface as the Mac app. The iOS version also allows you to manually enter text, which again gives the app functionality similar to a notes app. I also like that the iOS version notifies the user when the background session is about to end and provides several sharing options for the clippings.
Cloud Clip ($3.99) is the most full featured clipboard utility of the bunch. Just browse through the preferences for evidence to back up this claim as several options are available for controlling and organizing your clippings. One especially helpful feature is the sharing option, which allows you to share any clipping through email, the Messages app, Airdrop, Twitter, Facebook, or Flicker. Cloud Clip doesn’t have categories for clippings, but it does allow you to star clippings for quick access. Some users are going to be wary of clipping information to the cloud for security reasons. Cloud Clip helps with this by allowing you to blacklist—i.e. ignore clippings from—certain apps.
The one shortcoming of Cloud Clip right now is the design and UI. Images are grainy and the coloring and border are not attractive in the least.
In short, the iOS version ($.99) of Cloud Clip shares the same strengths and weaknesses as its Mac counterpart: feature filled, but lacking in the design department. Many of the same options available in the Mac version preferences are also available on the iOS version.
The one free option in this comparison review, CloudClip Manager, does not offer a fancy interface or a plethora of features like the aforementioned apps. Users are not able to find clips by category or easily share clippings through various services. However, it is free, reliable, and has the same basic functionality as the paid apps.
One thing that may turn off some potential users is the limit on clippings. The app only stores 15 clippings at a time.
The iOS version of CloudClip is also free. While it is also not as feature rich as the iOS versions for the other two apps, it does have a simple and sleek interface and looks better than Cloud Clip’s mobile app.
And the Winner Is
First of all, let me say that all of these apps get the job done, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Deciding on which one will work best for you is going to depend on your needs. If you need to organize clippings and design is important for you, CloudClipboard is going to be your best choice. If you like options and features Cloud Clip is the way to go. Looking for something simple and free? CloudClip Manager will suit your needs.
For me, it came down to design versus function, and I chose function. Cloud Clip found a home on my menubar because of the sharing options, despite its rather unappealing UI and design.