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I will present a common work case here: I have an iPhone, an older iPhone, an iPad Pro, iPad, Macbook and iMac, and they have the same iCloud account. Is there a way to make the "Handoff" feature work more reliably on them?

It can be for the first 3 to 5 times, a short string copied on one iPhone can be pasted into the other iPhone / iPad. (assuming the iPhones are within 2 feet apart). But after these few times, the other iPhone / iPad would start to get "jammed up" and not able to paste the short string. (the same with the Mac).

It might require a reboot of the iPhone for it to paste again. It is not a big issue except one iPhone or another constantly get jammed up, and it is wasting 5 minutes several times during the day, and they interrupt the usual workflow.

Are there ways to improve the reliability? All devices are on the same Wifi with Bluetooth turned on, although I think Handoff works off iCloud copy and paste, so sending 20 bytes from one iPhone to the iCloud server and the other phones getting back this 20 bytes shouldn't really be a big issue. Right now sometimes it feels like, one phone cannot get the data from the iCloud server, and somehow jammed up in there, perhaps won't time out the bad connection even after a few minutes, and require a user to reboot.

P.S. this happens even if it is 2 devices. Sometimes I have a URL to copy from the Macbook to the iPhone, and the iPhone won't be able to get it. I might have to reboot either the Macbook or the iPhone, or both, for it to work.

  • The question is kind of borderline on-topic right now, because discussions about how/why Apple does certain things are off-topic. If you are open for alternative solutions to share clipboards or small snippets across several devices please indicate this in the question. – nohillside Aug 14 at 10:02
  • @nohillside is there a way to "share clipboards"? I searched for that and "Universal Clipboard" showed up and it is "Handoff" – 太極者無極而生 Aug 17 at 0:01
  • There are several apps for that :-) – nohillside Aug 17 at 5:56
  • @nohillside can you name one or two that are reliable? One concern is that if it is 3rd party, and I copy and paste some private information, you really don't know how that info is viewed / analyzed / secure on their servers – 太極者無極而生 Aug 24 at 8:15
  • Reliable and secure/encrypted are two different things. I use Gladys which syncs via iCloud and claims to contain no analytics. – nohillside Aug 24 at 8:54
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No, it cannot be configured to be more reliable.

In practical terms, you'll need to ensure that the devices are within range of WiFi and Bluetooth. Besides that, there's not more that can be done.

As you have indicated in comments that you do not want suggestions for alternative solutions, I'll refrain from that.

  • Comments removed. Please keep in mind that comments should only be used to request clarification from the author or to leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post. – nohillside Aug 24 at 11:26
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After some time, I did find some ways to make it work better:

  1. After copying something, it is better to wait 3 to 5 seconds before you try to paste it in the other device, because there probably is a delay for the copied info sent to the remote iCloud server. If it doesn't paste the first time, try and wait 3-5 seconds more and try again. And most of the time, the thing I copied and pasted were just 10 to 20 characters, not a few MB or something, so it is not related to throughput, but related to latency.

  2. If you cannot paste to device 1 (such as your iPhone), but somehow can paste to device 2 (such as your iPad), sometimes you can just copy it on the iPad, and the iPhone can get it. So try to copy from another device and it may work better.

  3. Try tuning Wifi off and on for a device that doesn't work, in this article. Sometimes it worked for me, sometimes not.

  4. Sometimes it seems no matter what you do, a device just cannot paste. It is as if it had a bad connection and it won't time out that bad connection and still can't connect or something, and it won't try a brand new connection. In that case, turn off the device and turn it back on, and it should work.

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