How to Access and Clear the Android Clipboard

| December 3, 2013

Although this article is written with the Galaxy Note 10.1 in mind, most of these instructions should work for other Android devices.

The average user doesn’t really pay attention to the contents of the clipboard. Whenever we copy something on our device it gets stored in the clipboard. We later paste it elsewhere which retrieves a copy of the item from the clipboard. Although we pasted the item elsewhere, the original item is not deleted from the clipboard. Once we copy something to the Android clipboard it forever remains in the clipboard unless we manually delete it.

Unlike Windows PCs, turning off your Android device does not automatically clear the clipboard. With this being the case, it’s possible to unknowingly have a very crowded clipboard.

Under normal circumstances items in a clipboard shouldn’t affect the operation of your Android device, but coming from a Windows environment, I’ve made it a habit to clean out unnecessary files to avoid potential problems.

How to Access the Clipboard

Bring up either the on-screen keyboard or the S Pen keyboard. The clipboard button is to the extreme right of the space bar.

Clipboard Key- Keyboard

or

S Pen Pad - Clipboard

Tap on the clipboard to open it and view all items stored there. There are occasions when tapping the clipboard won’t open it. For example, tapping it when entering usernames or passwords on web pages, or sometimes when entering text on search functions (sometimes, not all times). The more you play around with your Galaxy or device the better you’ll be able to determine when the clipboard will respond.

Opened Clipboard

Once you open the clipboard, you’ll not only see the items in your clipboard, but you’ll have the option to edit the items.  Upon clicking “Edit,” two icons appear on each clipboard item. They give you the option to either delete the item or lock it in place.

Edit Clipboard

When you’re finished cleaning out the unwanted items, click “Save” to save those items you want, and then click “Done.” When you’re all finished click on the down arrow and you’re good to go.

Saving web addresses to the clipboard makes it easier to quickly visit your favorite websites. Rather than tapping or writing them out, open the clipboard, select the web address, close the clipboard and tap “Go” on the keyboard. Four taps and you’re there (5 if you include the tap necessary to invoke the keyboard).

Samsung Galaxy Clipboard Crash Problem

In doing a little research for this article, I came across a rather distressing situation. Apparently Samsung Galaxy devices on rare occasions (rare according to Samsung) can run into an over crowded clipboard issue that will cause the device to reboot or even worse, crash .

The combination of Touch Wiz software, Android 3.0 or higher and keyboards other than the default Samsung keyboard can give rise to this situation. The operating system sets up a different folder for each keyboard. The folder for the non-Samsung keyboard is inaccessible to the common user (unless you root your device aka have administrative access). Those non-Samsung folders become overcrowded with clips and cause the system to crash (a simplistic explanation of the problem).

Fortunately, Samsung has resolved the issued with an OTA (Over the Air) software  update. For you newbies like me, that means you don’t have to do anything. Samsung sends out the update to its devices. All you have to do is allow the update to install (depending on your device settings).

If you do run into the clipboard crash problem, double check to make sure you have the latest software.

UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that not all devices have such a clipboard.  The Nexus 7, for example, only allows one item at at time on the clipboard, so emptying it is not a problem.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Tablet

About the Author ()

Felicia (aka Low Tech Grandma) is a wife, mother, grandmother, freelance writer and low tech blogger.

Comments (4)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Glenda Pitts says:

    I’m reading this long after it was written but I have a keyboard that does not include a ‘clipboard’ key. Hence my desperation for fix. Sometimes 1 text copied can become 3 or 4 copies all to 1 Txt msg. I have a Samsung Galaxy S4. Anything new you’ve heard of to help me?

    • Low Tech Grandma says:

      Hi Glenda,

      I did a little searching online to see how to access the Samsung Galaxy S4 clipboard and this is what I found. What you need to do is press and hold down the key to the right of the “Sym” key. That will bring up a secondary menu option. In the secondary menu you should see the icon for your clipboard. Tap the clipboard icon to bring up what’s currently stored in y our clipboard.

      There should be a “Clear” key to clear your clipboard. I hope this helps.

    • Raymond Cortes says:

      well I figured out how to locate the clipboard in my Samsung galaxey A tablet… Simply go to and open your notepad Icon tap the icon that enables you to compose tap any letter a couple times on what ever keyboard your using press on one of the letters until the copy/paste blue tear drop appears…Now perss the blue tear drop for a couple seconds remove your finger from the screen and two icons will appear one says copy and the other says clipboard, tap the clipboard icon and you will see everything on the clipboard, on the right you eill see the words delete all tap that and the clipboard is cleared

      • Raymond Cortes says:

        whoops people i meant to say locate the memo icon on your screen I dont know if memo and note pad are the same thing… anyways tap the MEMO icon everything else is the same…