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Copy and paste glitching for you in iOS 9? Here's the workaround!

There's a bug in iOS 9 affecting some people using its pasteboard: The gist is, when you go to copy and paste something on your iPhone or iPad, instead of pasting what you just copied, it pastes whatever you copied previously instead. So, if you copied some text yesterday, then copy a web link today, you'll paste the text instead of the link. It doesn't happen all the time, but does happen often enough that we've gotten several requests for help troubleshooting it. Well, here's what you can do!

How to fix copy/paste problems in iOS 9

To make sure you paste what you most recently copied, here's what to do:

  1. Go to the text, link, or other item you want to copy.
  2. Tap to bring up the Edit menu.
  3. Tap Copy.
  4. Tap to bring up the edit menu again.
  5. Tap Copy again.

Most of the time repeating the copy cycle twice gets the right content onto the pasteboard.

If you're trying to copy a selection, you can simply move the drag handles around a bit first. That seems to ensure the copy. If your goal is to share something, you can also use the Share Sheet instead:

  1. Go to the content you want to share.
  2. Tap the Share button.
  3. Choose the service you want to use to share it.
  4. Send away!

That's especially useful for situations where you just want to iMessage a link from Safari, for example.

The problem currently seems to affect all versions of iOS 9, though not for everyone. Given how core pasteboard is to the system, hopefully Apple will have a fix ready soon.

I've filed it with Apple's bug reporter system as rdar://24334129, and it came back as a dupe of rdar://23129518.

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

14 Comments
  • Hey Rene, My problem is, when I highlight something many times the option to copy won't apear. Is that a bug???
  • Yes! I have that issue often when I use 3D Touch. Tapping on the selection usually brings up the menu if that is when you run into the problem.
  • This happens to me sometimes, I assumed it was more of a feature than a bug since when you tap on the selection it always seems to fix
  • That's a bug too that I've noticed, just not this one. Since I can't reproduce it at will, I'm not sure what to tell Apple via Feedback.
  • I've noticed a bug where you will tap and hold on a phone number in an email or something and when the contextual menu pops up and I tap Send Message, it won't do anything. I usually have to cancel and re-do. Anyone have similar experiences?
  • I'm experiencing this copy and paste bug, hope it gets fixed as soon as possible. Thanks for the workaround.
  • I experienced this bug too a few times. It's not a consistent problem, but it happens.
  • That's been the bane of my existence for some time now; pasting the wrong thing.
  • I encounter the copy bug in the latest OSX all the time and repeating the copy action works.
  • The whole OS experience is becoming buggier with each release. I first started noticing small bugs with my iPhone 6, but now I have tons of them. I have noticed all of the ones mentioned above and many more. One of my most annoying ones is rotating the screen while using the browser and having it show up in some weird distorted view. The browser also locks up sometimes. Another annoying one is using force touch to move the cursor around. For me sometimes it only works one time so if you don't place it exactly right you have type for a while then it works again. Really annoying when trying to fix one letter. Overall I am becoming less enthusiastic about "upgrading". I got my wife the 6S and about once a week she tells me how much she hates her phone because of the size and the bugs. She tells me she wants her iPhone 5 back. Hopefully they start addressing all of these bugs and make iOS 10 a smoother user experience.
  • I'm testing the iOS 9.3 beta at the moment so what I say might not have much value, but I've not really seen the OS get buggier over time. Sure there's sometimes the odd bug that creeps in, as a developer myself I know how difficult it is to catch everything, and iOS is pretty complex, but I don't feel like it's becoming an unstable mess. It's still pretty solid for me
  • iOS is full of bugs? I have only sometimes an issue that no menu popup when I select text. But beside this?
  • This is still broken. Given the size of the company, you'd think they would be able to fix such an annoying and obvious bug sooner.
  • I'm trying very hard not to outright hate my iPhone 6s Plus. It's new and I switched from an android about three months ago. It's updated, I've tried using apps (which I am very shocked how few choices there are for popular sites) and searching for answers to all the blooming buggie glitches I can't get through, other than going to an old iPod I still have. I searched for why I cannot "paste" links I've copied. I thought Apple was supposed to be the cream of the crop but so far, it's filled with bugs.