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Everyone wants copy and paste capabilities on the iPhone. That’s why I’m sure it’s not a question of “if” but “when” Apple will implement them. Still, the device has now been out for a year and a half and they haven’t added those capabilities yet for whatever reason. Instead, some determined developers continue to come up with work arounds, and the one involving Safari bookmarks is the best yet.

Pastebud uses two JavaScript bookmarks — one for the copying and one for the pasting — to enable you to move information from one web page to another. More importantly, it allows you to paste copied information into the iPhone’s email application.

To use it, you go to a page with the information you want to copy. You hit the bookmarks icon, select “Copy” and a script loads on top of the page which allows you to highlight the text you wish to copy. From here you can choose to send this information over email or save to the clipboard to paste on another page. When you’re on the page you wish to paste something to, you simply hit the bookmarks icon again and this time select “Paste.” This time the JavaScript will put an overlay on the page to allow you to select where you wish to paste your text. It’s a very nice user interface.

This method seems a lot simpler than the OpenClip method, which used a loophole of sorts in the iPhone software development kit (SDK) to add the copy and paste functionality. A software update by Apple killed this method. Luckily, because Pastebud works entirely through Safari bookmarks, Apple won’t be able to kill it without removing JavaScript support in Safari (which it won’t do).

If Apple really is having difficulty figuring out how best to implement copy and paste, it may be wise to look at Pastebud for inspiration. “Copy” and “paste” icons right on the iPhone’s Safari bottom toolbar that do exactly this would be a welcome addition.

Watch the method in action below:


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