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I've looked into the iCloud settings on both my Mac and iOS, but I can't seem to find an option to disable this feature. Is there a plist entry somewhere that I can use, or is it forced on?

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2 Answers 2

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Disabling Handoff is currently the only way to disable Universal Clipboard.

  • Mac: Go to System Preferences > General > uncheck Allow Handoff
  • iPhone: Go to Settings > General > Handoff > uncheck Handoff

Just so you know, Handoff uses a secure communication channel to transfer information between devices signed into the same Apple ID.

Data does not travel to Apple's servers or even over the internet. Devices advertise availability to each other via Bluetooth and data is transmitted over Wi-Fi, but only on the local network. However, once the data is on the clipboard on a computer, another app could then "sniff/copy" the data and send it on / store it. Basically macOS clipboard isn't secure from other apps installed, but handoff itself is very secure in transit.

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There is a way to disable Universal Clipboard without disabling Handoff, if that's what you really want:

  1. Open your Terminal

  2. Check if ClipboardSharingEnabled is enabled (equals 1)

    defaults read ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.coreservices.useractivityd.plist ClipboardSharingEnabled
    
  3. Set ClipboardSharingEnabled to 0

    defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.coreservices.useractivityd.plist ClipboardSharingEnabled 0
    

In order for this to work, your Terminal must have access to Files and Folders or Full Disk Access.

  1. Go to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Privacy (tab) -> Full Disk Access (sidebar)

  2. Click the padlock icon at the bottom left corner of the preferences pane and enter your account info (you must have administrator rights)

  3. If the Terminal is not in the list on the right, click on the (+) button at the bottom and select it at /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app

  4. Make sure Terminal is checked before leaving

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  • If they want to disable it, why would a cycle between enabled and disabled be necessary?
    – Allan
    Apr 25, 2023 at 20:00
  • That defaults read command results in an error message for me: The domain/default pair of (/Users/redacted/Library/Preferences/com.apple.coreservices.useractivityd.plist, ClipboardSharingEnabled) does not exist Apr 26, 2023 at 17:32
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    @Allan Step 2 is just for diagnostic purposes; it doesn't cycle the value.
    – inukshuk
    Apr 26, 2023 at 23:51
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    @MarkThomson The only reason why I can see this happening is if the Terminal doesn't have access to Files and Folders or Full Disk Access. I'll update the answer to include it.
    – inukshuk
    Apr 26, 2023 at 23:53
  • Actually, I have full disk access so was able to open the plist file. That key just didn't exist, hence the message. However, setting the value to 1 (on) or 0 (off) using defaults write works as expected. Incredible. Thanks for this! (It's probably good to mention the full disk permissions in your answer nontheless). Excellent. Apr 27, 2023 at 20:39

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