Last week, OnePlus introduced a new software initiative called OneLab, which is pretty similar to Google’s Creative Lab — a startup-like division set up to create fun or interesting new apps and tools. The first of these experiments comes in the form of Clipt, a cross-platform clipboard sharing tool that makes it easy to transfer text, images, and files across your devices — even iOS support is planned.
OnePlus advertises Clipt as a solution for those of us who routinely copy data back and forth from our phone to our computer, with some people relying on cloud storage, email, or some other rather cumbersome method. Clipt is supposed to make it easy to transfer images, files, and text between your devices, though there’s a severe limitation on Android.
Clipt suffers from the same problem that limits any other clipboard syncing service on Android 10 and newer. The update restricted access to the Android clipboard, which is why OnePlus can add text and images to your phone’s clipboard, but can’t read what you store in it. That means that if you want to copy text from your phone to your computer, you first have to paste it into Clipt. At least Clipt makes that easy with a permanent notification, though I probably would’ve preferred an even more elegant solution: A quick settings toggle. Text copied to your computer’s clipboard is instantly available on your phone, for what it’s worth.
With that out of the way, OnePlus also promises that it doesn’t actually store your data on its servers in the transfer process. Instead, you have to sign in with your Google account so that Clipt uses your Google Drive storage. In order to keep the footprint small, Clipt will only save the latest ten files or snippets you share, deleting older ones automatically. During setup, you have to go through some scary-sounding permissions surrounding your Drive storage, but OnePlus writes that “Clipt can only download the files it creates as it’s siloed” — no need to worry about your precious Drive files leaking all over the internet.
Using the app for a few hours, there are some quirks I’d like to see addressed, though. For one, I’d love to be able to turn off clipboard sync itself and use the service proactively only, mostly for images and files. That might seem counterintuitive, but I personally barely need to move actual text from my browser to my phone. In fact, I find the notifications that keep popping up on my phone when I copy things locally on my laptop rather annoying. And turning off Clipt notifications in Android system settings doesn’t seem to be a feasible option because the app doesn’t have clearly labeled notification channels, making it a game of Whac-A-Mole.
Even if I were someone who uses the clipboard syncing feature, I’d like to have a way to at least temporarily disable clipboard syncing. Sometimes, you’re forced to copy and paste passwords from your password manager, and if I don’t need to have my password readily available on my phone using that route, I wouldn’t want them to be shared in the first place.
It’s also a bummer that I can only send one image or file at a time. When writing articles, I routinely use Pushbullet to send over multiple screenshots to my computer at once, and it doesn’t look like Clipt is able to do that — I tried to do it both via the app itself and the Android share menu to no avail.
Last but not least, you have to sign in with the Google account you’re using for Chrome when you install the browser extension. That might not be a problem for you, but it’s something a few people with computers or phones provided by work will have to keep in mind. Fortunately, the company said that if the product turns out to be a success, it could go for a standalone solution that doesn’t rely on Google at all.
Given that the app is brand-new, I’m pretty hopeful that many of these shortcomings can be addressed, safe for the clipboard access problems baked into Android itself. And it’s entirely possible that the problems I see don’t bother you at all, so it might already be a great app for you — if you don’t already use one of many other competing products that have been on the market for much longer.
To get started yourself, download the Clipt app from the Play Store or get it over at APK Mirror, and then install the Chrome extension on your computer. An iOS app is coming “soon,” too.