How to View and Access the Clipboard History on a MacBook or iMac

Key Takeaways

  • MacOS does not have a built-in clipboard history feature to view previously copied items
  • Third-party clipboard manager apps are required to access and manage clipboard history on Mac
  • Clipboard managers like Maccy, Paste, and CopyClip offer robust clipboard history management with search, previews, and customization


The clipboard is an essential tool for copying and pasting text, images, and other data between applications on a Mac. However, Apple’s macOS operating system lacks a native feature to view or access the clipboard history beyond the most recent item copied. This limitation can be frustrating, especially when you need to retrieve something you copied a while ago. Fortunately, several third-party clipboard manager apps are available to fill this gap and provide a comprehensive clipboard history solution for Mac users.

Accessing Clipboard History on Mac

To view the current clipboard contents on macOS, you can follow these steps:

  1. Open the Finder app
  2. Click on the “Edit” menu
  3. Select “Show Clipboard”

This will display a window with the most recent item you copied or cut. However, as soon as you copy or cut something new, the previous clipboard contents are overwritten and lost.

Third-Party Clipboard Managers

Since macOS does not offer a built-in clipboard history feature, users must rely on third-party clipboard manager apps to access and manage their clipboard history effectively. Here are some popular and highly recommended clipboard managers for Mac:


Maccy is a free and open-source clipboard manager that stands out for its simplicity, speed, and robust features. It can store up to 200 items in your clipboard history, including text, images, and files. Maccy also offers a search function to quickly find specific items in your clipboard history, as well as customizable preferences and hotkeys.[4]


Paste is a powerful clipboard manager that seamlessly integrates with macOS. It automatically keeps track of everything you copy, regardless of format, including text, images, screenshots, links, and more. Paste allows you to view your clipboard history with a simple keyboard shortcut (Shift + Command + V) and provides a convenient search bar to navigate through your copied items easily.[6]


CopyClip is another free and lightweight clipboard manager for Mac. It stores your clipboard history in a simple and accessible interface, allowing you to quickly retrieve previously copied text or images. CopyClip also supports customizable hotkeys and can automatically start upon system reboot.[2]


While macOS lacks a native clipboard history feature, third-party clipboard manager apps like Maccy, Paste, and CopyClip offer robust solutions to access and manage your clipboard history on a MacBook or iMac. These apps provide features such as search, previews, customization options, and hotkeys, making it easy to retrieve previously copied items and streamline your workflow.[4][6][2]