How to display / delete the clipboard of Mac and manage the history?

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Updated : Nov 25, 2021
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I will show you how to view and erase the contents of the clipboard when copying and pasting on your Mac.

I will also show you how to manage the clipboard history.

How to view the contents of the Mac clipboard

▶ Brings the Mac Finder to the front.

Mac Desktop

▶ From the Apple menu, select “Edit” -> “Show Clipboard”.

Mac Finder "Edit" -> "Show Clipboard"

▶ As shown in the figure, the screen is displayed and the contents of the clipboard are displayed.

At the bottom of the screen, the type of clipboard content (“PNG image” in the figure) is displayed.

Mac Contents of Clipboard

How to erase the contents of the Mac clipboard

▶ From the Finder, launch “Terminal.app” in the folder “Applications” -> “Utilities”.

Mac "Terminal.app"

▶ When “Terminal” starts, copy and paste the following command.

pbcopy < /dev/null
Mac "Terminal.app"

▶ After pasting, press the return(enter) key on your keyboard to execute.

Mac "Terminal.app"

▶ After executing, check if it is deleted by the previous item “How to view the contents of the Mac clipboard“.

How to automatically erase the contents of the Mac clipboard

For security reasons, this is a trick that can be used when you want to erase the contents of the clipboard at regular intervals.

Here, we will show you how to use a free app called “Clear Clipboard” and how to use AppleScript.

Introduction of a free app, “Clear Clipboard”

Clear Clipboard” is easy to use, so I recommend it.

‎Clear Clipboard
‎Clear Clipboard is a lightweight utility for clearing the clipboard content, it prevents sensitive clipboard date from being peeped. The clipboard may contain...

▶ When you launch the app, an icon will appear in the menu bar.

Macアプリ「Clear Clipboard」

▶ Various settings can be made on the Preference screen.

Macアプリ「Clear Clipboard」の設定画面

The settings are as follows:

ItemDescription
Auto clear clipboard
with a delay of 〜 seconds
Automatically erases the clipboard
after ~ seconds
Clear clipboard on computer sleepAutomatically clear the clipboard
when your Mac is asleep
Clear clipboard on display sleepAutomatically clear the clipboard
when the display is in sleep
Clear clipboard on screen lockAutomatically erase the clipboard
when the screen is locked
Show status bar iconWhen there is data in the clipboard,
the icon is displayed in black,
and when there is no data,
it is displayed in light gray.
Play sound on clearing finshSounds when erasing clipboard data
Keyboard shortcutRegister a keyboard shortcut
to erase the clipboard data

Introduction of the method using AppleScript

Please refer to the link below for how to use AppleScript.

Clear Clipboard on OS X after ‘n’ seconds

The script below clears the clipboard every S seconds:

#!/bin/sh
# pbclear [seconds]

S=${1:-10}

while true
do
    pbcopy < /dev/null
    sleep $S
done

Save it to a file named pbclear, set executable permissions with chmod +x pbclear, and put it somewhere in your path, for instance, /usr/local/bin. Then run it in the background with pbclear 60 & to clear the clipboard every 60 seconds.

How to manage your Mac clipboard history

On Mac, only one data can be saved in the clipboard.

To extend this to have multiple clipboard histories, you need to use apps.

The apps are introduced in detail in the article linked below.

Reviews and recommendations for apps that can extend your Mac's clipboard functionality
The clipboard feature on your Mac can only save the most recent data. This page introduces multiple apps that can extend the clipboard function, and lists the advantages and disadvantages and recommendations.

Conclusion

The clipboard function of Mac is not so good compared to Windows, but there are various apps that expand the function, so it is recommended to try them once.

Reference information

How to view the Clipboard history on Mac
Learn how to recall things copied onto your clipboard on macOS easily, and hot to get the simplest and most efficient clipboard manager for your Mac for free.
Clear Clipboard on OS X after 'n' seconds
I tab a lot between tasks and would like to make sure that I do not accidentally paste something where it does not belong. Thus, is there a feature or an app th...
How To View Clipboard on Mac: Check Clipboard History and Best Apps To Use
Copying and pasting have to be the two most widely used operations on a computer — Mac and Windows alike. Irrespective of whether you’re writing non-fiction or ...

This is the end of this article.

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