iPhone copy and paste: How to copy and paste with iOS

iPhone FAQ: How do I copy and paste on the iPhone, iPod, or iPad?

Starting way back with Apple’s iOS 3.0 operating system, iPhone users can finally copy and paste content. Here’s a quick summary of how the iPhone copy/paste feature works.

iPhone copy and paste: How to copy a range of text

Here’s a quick step-by-step description of how to copy a range of words (text) on the iPhone. This example assumes you will be copying the text from a web page in the iPhone Safari browser, but you can copy text from many iPhone apps:

  1. Touch a word on the web page in the area where you want to copy some content.
  2. When the magnifying glass appears and the word is highlighted, quit touching the word.
  3. The iPhone will now display your word in a "Copy" range. The range will have two blue dots, one in the upper-left corner, and the other in the lower-right corner. Drag these dots left and right, respectively, to select the range of words you want to copy.
  4. After you've selected the range of words to copy, press the "Copy" balloon text. It will briefly turn blue, indicating that the text has been copied to the clipboard.

That's all you have to do to copy iPhone text. Now let's look at how to paste it somewhere else.

How to paste iPhone text from the buffer

Now that you have copied iPhone text to memory, you can past the content somewhere else, such as into an email message, follow these steps:

  1. Open the iPhone email editor, and press the icon to compose a new email message.
  2. In the area where you want to paste the content from the clipboard, press and hold your finger down in the area where you want the content pasted.
  3. In about a second the magnifying glass will appear, and you can stop pressing the display. At this point a widget will appear with three options: Select, Select All, and Paste. Just press the Paste button in the widget, and your content will be pasted into your email message.

Other iPhone copy and paste options

There are other variations on how the iPhone copy process works, but hopefully this gives you enough information to get you started with the iPhone copy and paste process. But for what it's worth, here are some of the different iPhone copy/paste options I've seen:

  • In the email editor, as you just saw, when you press and hold a spot in the editor, there is a widget that displays the Select, Select All, and Paste buttons. Once you see this widget, I think the buttons are self-explanatory. Just note that this is how you select text in this editor, which is a little different than selecting text on a web page.
  • In the Safari browser on the iPhone you can some times get into a situation where the Copy widget selects a range that is larger than you want to select. I haven't found a workaround for this yet. I don't know why this does this on some sections of text, but not on others.
  • If you decide you don't want to copy the selected range of text, just press some other area on screen outside of the Copy range, and this will cancel the copy operation.