Synchronizing your Windows clipboard with your Android clipboard and all the other way around is a nifty productivity hack. Sometimes you just want to copy-paste a link to your desktop browser, sometimes you need a faster way to get the images from your device to your desktop, and you want to find a way that would not require you to connect your device to your computer with a USB cable.
Whatever the reason for you looking for the clipboard sync tool, be advised – it is a time consuming process, and most likely you will have privacy and apps permissions questions pending. If lucky, you will be happy with the first app you’ve installed, but in most cases you will be trying out quite a few of them. Why, you ask? Simply because these apps are finicky. Sometimes they lag, sometimes they freeze. Other apps bear so much functionality you might not need, so sticking to the good old synchronized Chrome browser may eventually be the most hassle-free option.
A final word of introduction – we have omitted ClipSync in this breakdown because it was last updated in 2012 and looks like abandonware, but despite its status it may work for you. It was quite a popular tool a few years ago.
Now, there are quite a few apps on Google Play that say they can sync your clipboard contents for you, but here are the two most obvious, and most comprehensive solutions – AirDroid and Pushbullet. The other three are more clipboard-focused, if you don’t need the additional features – Scatter Clipboard, Clipbrd Beta and Kingsoft Clip. If you feel we have omitted an important and functional app that does the job – let us know in the comments below.
Now, lets’ take a quick look at the features breakdown.
We’ve already covered AirDroid in the article on how to send text messages from your computer, and synchronizing clipboards is also on AirDroid’s features list, among other cool things. What it does is basically mirrors your Android device to your desktop, allowing you to perform some operations with the help of your mouse and keyboard.
Hence, you can do a whole lot with AirDroid. Send text messages, including group ones – check; push apk files from your desktop computer to your Android device – check; manage files, folders, images and music, contacts and videos on your Android from your PC – check; share clipboard contents – check.
AirDroid needs your devices to be connected to WiFi to run, but when it does, it also offers some pretty impressive features, like locating and remotely wiping your device. You will also be able to take screenshots of your Android device (root no longer required), see the images shown by your device’s camera and control your device’s flashlight. Besides offering file and task manager features, AirDroid also lets you do the Wi-Fi tethering and more power-user options.
The last, but not least advantage of AirDroid is you may skip installing its desktop software, but run it in your Chrome browser.
As any power tool, AirDroid has its nifty tricks, but can be finicky at times. For example, it seems to drain Android battery quite fast, and has a complicated uninstall process, as well as a few compatibility issue on certain devices. You will never know unless you try it on your device, but ultimately, if it works, it does a great job of making your Android more accessible from your computer.
AirDroid is a great power tool that not only lets you share your Android and Windows clipboards quite easily, but perform quite a few advanced tasks. Transfer files, apk, images, clipboard contents and take pictures using your device’s camera or take screenshots live – the feature list goes on. On the other hand, it does require access to nearly every aspect of your device. If the battery drain and privacy is of no concern, and your device lets the app run smoothly – give it a try, you might as well love it.
Pushbullet is another power app we discussed here in terms of sending text messages from the desktop computers, and syncing your clipboard is one of its features. Its primary purpose is to make moving “things” easily between your devices – calls and text messages, notifications, files, links. The latter, if sent from your desktop, will be available directly in your Android notifications, and you can open them right from there.
It offers cross-platform support and a mulch-lingual interface. Pushbullet can work through a desktop application or from a web browser, using an extension for Chrome. As far as clipboard sharing, when you install the Android app, just make sure you have “Universal Copy and Paste” enabled.
It gets the job done, and in most cases it works seamlessly. Its setup time might be slightly longer than that of the AirDroid, but you have to see it for yourself which app works better for you.
Lets you share your clipboard across your devices, and offers a whole slew of other nifty features, but might be a nag in terms of privacy – the app, obviously, has access to pretty much everything, including your payment info. All the permissions requests are justified, however.
Download link on Google Play, website
Last updated on November 12, 2014
Scatter is a go-to app if clipboard sharing is all you need, without the advanced features of file and folder management offered in the above-mentioned suites. What is more important, Scatter is the first app I saw minding the issues of privacy.
For one, it uses your local WiFi to transfer the contents of clipboard, avoiding the cloud, if that is of any value to you. I know it is to me because I am a privacy paranoid, so having my shared clipboard stored ONLY locally, that is on my Android and my desktop, is a selling point.
Another nifty feature is that the data it transfers is encrypted – another point where I made a mental check next to the Pros section. It supports Android, iOS and Windows platforms, and lets you sync your photos, videos, links, texts and basically any file between you Android and your desktop apps.
You will need to install both the Android and the desktop apps, and the clipboard you wish to sync will be sent to those respective apps.
What actually nags me in all the apps on the list is how you have to figure them all out – the descriptions do not specifically tell you where you find your synced data, or how to correctly copy-paste them. Thus, you spend quite a while scratching your forehead. Scatter will send and receive the contents you specifically paste to its app.
It does synchronize automatically all the screenshots and pictures you take with your Android device to your Windows desktop. Besides, it has a clipboard history you can manage.
Some users argue they need the app to automatically sync the clipboard itself on Android and desktop, without the need to paste the specific contents onto the app to have its counterpart receive it. They suggest it is an unnecessary extra step that adds some hassle to the user experience. However, I very much appreciate this approach because I definitely do not wish to share all my clipboard contents with my devices. I want to control what the syncing app syncs and have the rest untouched, and in this respect Scatter answers my woes. What the app could do, though, is do a better job of explaining how it works.
If you don’t need to have all your clipboard contents automatically shared with your devices the moment you tap “Copy,” but wish to have control over what you share, Scatter is a solution for you. It encrypts the data you send, and if possible, only uses your local Wi-Fi, avoiding to upload the data to the cloud. It does sync the screenshots and pictures you take automatically; the rest of the text and files can be copied by directly interacting with the Scatter app. Try it.
Clipbrd is a perfectly simple and easy-to-use tool if copy-pasting text and links is all you want. It does not transfer images and files, but sharing your text-snippets and links is very simple and straightforward. You install the app on your Android device, then you install a Chrome extension and you are done.
You don’t have a UI to manage your clipboards, but you get the text you send directly in your clipboard, so you can paste it right away, on both ends.
Also, the data you send is protected by your password and, according to the app’s description, encrypted. Notably, the extension, if you do not sign out or switch the online toggle to offline, will keep running in the background. It is perfect to have the full control over when to share the clipboard contents, and when to go private. The Android version also has the online/offline and sign in and out toggles. So, whenever you want to stop the app from syncing, you just turn it off. In addition, this is probably the app with the least permissions required.
Clipbird may not sport the fancy features the other apps have, nether does it transfer files, folders or images. There is no clipboard history to view or manage, either. However, if sharing text-snippets and links, or contact details is what you need, the app does it in a straightforward and hassle-free manner. You don’t even need to install a desktop app, and when you turn on the browser extension it works as a switch to enable the syncing. Fast, smooth and works like a charm.
Download links on website
Kingsoft Clip might not be the best of options, but Kingsoft line of apps has its own base of loyal users, so you might like it, despite its limitations. It lets you share up to 20 items per month for free – that is the limitation number one. Next, you have to have both apps – the desktop one and the Android one. And you can only get it from the developer’s webiste, number two.
The good part about Kingsoft Clip is it lets you view your clipboard history, but that is limited to the 9 latest text-snippets, number three. A smart feature is to call your camera from the desktop to use your Kingsoft PC client to take the pictures.
Another restriction is when sending clips from PC to Android, you have to click “send to the cloud” explicitly, otherwise it won’t sync. Also, the desktop app has a couple glitches signing in and freezing. Not my favorite, but might work for you.
Kingsoft Clip has a nifty clipboard window, where you can view 9 of your latest clippings and choose to send them to the cloud, and your desktop, or vice versa. However, you can only send 10 items per month for free, which is a major turn-off.
Choosing the best one is strictly subjective, and my personal favorites are Clipbrd Beta and AirDroid. The former works well with the text-snippets and encrypts your data, as well as stores them only on your devices, when it can avoid sending the snippets to the cloud. AirDroid, on the other hand, offers an advanced list of features, and mirrors some basic features of your Android device to your desktop while Clipboard sharing is smooth and works like charm. Besides, it supports sending images and files to and from your device. Pushbullet is equally versatile and powerful, and which one works best for you is up to you. Scatter works great, but does not have many features, if you need them, while Kingsoft gets the job done, but has some nagging limitations.
If you personally have had a great experience using these, or other Android/Windows clipboard sharing tools, share your impressions in the comments below.