Apple iPhone needs cut and paste functionality

iPhone cut and pasteAs great as the iPhone and iPhone 3G platforms are at playing media, surfing the web, mobile blogging, and even finding the nearest Starbucks in your area, there’s a critical shortcoming in its otherwise superb UI. Cut-and-paste functionality has been a sticking point that has drawn the iPhone’s Mac OS much criticism and ire from fans and haters alike. But, until now, the absence of cut/paste features has been fairly manageable.

Any potential pieces of information that Apple foresaw users would need to transfer or interact with (email addresses, phone numbers, hyperlinks) were automatically detected and linked to an action that Apple reasoned would be the most likely path taken by an iPhone user. Phone numbers were automatically linked to the iPhone’s phone application. Tapping an email address would bring up a new email message in the iPhone’s Mail application. Hyperlinks would lead to the target webpage within Safari. And so on.

But, with the iPhone now being developed en masse and iPhone applications widely available through the AppStore, the need for cut-and-paste functionality is greater than ever. As iPhone Central‘s Dan Moren points out, applications like the just-launched WordPress iPhone application would benefit to no end from a working cut/paste feature on the iPhone. Embedding an external URL in to a blog post is easy enough when you can copy and paste the too-long-to-remember address in to the post’s text. But, without any way to copy the URL, aside from manually jotting it down on a piece of paper (or seriously testing your memory), embedding a URL in to a WordPress post turns in to an exercise in tediousness.

Of course, there are solutions to getting commonly copied information transferred to another application. Data URLs allow for rudimentary and buggy cut/paste within Safari. The iPhone Flickr-browser Exposure lets you export a link to a Flickr picture straight to your Twiterrific Twitter client. Other applications have built-in browsers to allow for quick browsing of embedded hyperlinks without having to memorize and input the address in to Safari.  Still, these are workarounds, not real solutions.

Will Apple see fit to bring cut-and-paste functionality to the iPhone? According to Apple’s Greg Joswiak, cut/paste is quite low on the iPhone UI developmental priority list – taking a back-seat to turn-by-turn GPS navigation. We’re torn between wanting a full-featured GPS navigation solution and a working cut-and-paste feature on the iPhone.

I would prefer that Apple concentrate on bringing cut/paste to the field ahead of enhanced GPS features. But, what say you, dear readers? Better GPS or cut-n-paste?

  • rf9

    Copy and paste definintely. We don’t need turn bybtirn navigation that badly. In can go buy a Tom Tom for a few hundred bucks, but I can’t buy copy paste. Only Apple can give us that. My wife needs copy paste for doing her Yelp reviews! LOL

  • Ben Robinson

    I am quite surprised the iPhone doesn’t have this functionality – consider this irony…

    The WinMo touch-based input is IMHO lightyears behind the Apple UE, yet, one of the things a WinMo-powered device does first when you get it new is to configure the touch input, THEN RUN YOU THROUGH HOW CUT & PASTE WORKS!

    It’s a simple enough piece of functionality to add, and as Will succinctly points out, you can’t really do any kind of sensible URL/text block replication without this feature.

    An obvious add, and should be way above turn-by-turn GPS…


  • Varun

    Apple said that it will bring this functionality in future ..

    it said it was not a priority .. i love my nokia n82 😀

  • Derrick

    The iPhone 3G needs cut/copy and paste, the ability to send/receive MMS, speaker independent voice dial, video record capability and A2DP (stereo bluetooth), better Exchange support, the ability to sync both corporate and personal contact and calendar info, and better auto GSM/3G switching for optimized battery life.

    IMO turn by turn GPS arguably should have been available out of the box at launch, but since that obviously is not the case, Apple if they truly wants to have the best phone in the market and not just be an Apple fanboy favorite, should focus on the basics first like the issues mentioned above, and let 3rd party developers like Garmin or TomTom put out a solid 3rd Party turn-by-turn GPS solution for the iPhone 3G.

  • RF9

    I’m sure the reason turn by turn navigation is only a higher priority because there’s money to be made, unlike copy/paste.
    I’m sure it will be some crappy AT&T pay service that you have to subscribe to or something lame.

  • John

    I agree 100% with Derrick post and what I have hier
    that the iPhone will never do decent turn-by-turn navigation,
    because the GPS chip is too weak,
    and its placement not optimized for reception in a device designed primarily for other functions.

    Is it so?

  • RF9

    My problem is…
    How do I talk on the phone and use the phone as a GPS at the same time?
    That doesn’t work quite so well.

    I’d rather keep my very specialized GPS navigation system (seriously, they’re cheaper than the iPhone to get one) and leave the phone to be a phone.
    Go buy a GPS if you need one.

    The GPS chip isn’t weak at all. It’s very very sensitive, it even works indoors (try that with a Garmin… nope.) It just shouldn’t be a Tom Tom.

  • Will Park

    Exchange support is there. iPhone 2.0 OS supports Exchange, and third-party solutions also exist for better corporate and personal Exchange synchronization. The iPhone 3G automatically switches between 3G and EDGE or GSM, handing off calls when needed.

    You can talk on the iPhone with a Bluetooth or the wired headset while continuing to use the GPS functionality. But, as you point out, RF9, you can’t hold the iPhone 3G to your ear while attempting to navigate with Google Maps.

    I’d like to see turn-by-turn GPS on my iPhone 3G, but I already have an integrated navigation system in my car, so turn-by-turn doesn’t really appeal to me as much as cut-and-paste (especially as a blogger).

    There have been reports that the turn-by-turn functionality wasn’t possible due to the iPhone 3G’s “small” GPS receiver. That misconception was fathered by David Pogue after an Apple iPhone tech-lead informed him as such. But, Joswiak turned around and said that it was currently being hashed out. So, who are we to believe? I say turn-by-turn is on its way.

  • Dave

    Cut & Paste is THE thing (along with undo & delete)that make computing more efficient than paper. Keyboards should have dedicated buttons for it and no “smart” phone should be without it.

  • Harvey

    Easy for me… until iPhone has Cut and Paste… I do not purchase one. My Treo has it… sure not as slick a package. What is the development team thinking? They want business users… but no cut and paste?

  • RF9

    I absolutely agree with Harvey.

  • tracyjay

    I miss my blackberry SOOOOO much. cut and paste is basic functionality and I wish that i didnt have 18 months of this torture to endure.

    yep a slicker gps which recalculates would be nice but really i can buy a tom tom if thats what i need… so do i have to buy a blackberry to get basic functionality to my phone…. aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgggghhhh i seriously thought they would have this fixed.

    low on the priority you say… so is me getting another iphone and until they fix that i would not recommend the iphone to anybody.

    If you need email and business functionality then the iphone is not for you. its a gimmick that doesnt have the basics.

    … do i feel better now after that rant? no. im still stuck with my heap of junk for another 17 months.

  • Tony

    I’m so happy I get a E71 insteed with all basic
    functions with real A-GPS , Cut/Paste , MMS , Video calls , 3,2MP camera and all officeprograms without any silly contract , The E71 are amazing for so little money it cost and with stunning sexy look.

  • Allan

    Another one for Copy and Paste. Without copy and paste I will stick with my Blackberry and not even consider the iPhone.

    Let’s see who gets there product to market first. Apple iPhone with copy and paster or a new Blackberry touch screen phone.


  • Julian Greigh

    Cut and Paste. With out it, the iPhone is a fast sports car with no tires; A lot of potential but no way to use it.

  • rob nubes

    why not both? it is not that hard is it?

  • TomG12

    I was all set to trade in my buggy (but feature full) Windows Mobile phone and get an iphone. I went into the apple store and picked one up and wanted to copy and paste something.. I just figured that would have been included..Its not. When I asked the sales guy why there was no cut and paste he tryed to sell the idea that the iphone “isn’t supposed to replace your computer. Its just a phone” and that “Apple isn’t really concerned about it and that they may never have it.”… ah whaaa? First off, if it just a phone why can I watch a movie, listen to music, watch you tube, browse the web, navigate via satillites… it just made no sense. All I do with my phone all day is copy and paste content from one email to a text message. I copy images, contacts, URLS… the idea that I couldn’t do that made me not get the phone. Now I’m looking at a Treo.

  • Akap

    hmm. My head just about exploded when I suddenly realized there is no cut and paste. To put a finer point, my heart stopped, and I thought “This toy i just purchased is going to make me less effiecient than I was with my Blackberry”

    Dear apple,
    FIX THIS NOW!!!!

    Mac fan since my Mac II

  • JTS

    Cut and paste is by far the winner over GPS turn by turn! It makes my blood boil to even thing about this and realize all the time that’s been wasted rekeying data, complaining about it, etc. I would probably NOT have purchased the iPhone had I known that it didn’t have cut & paste. Even my PDAs from a couple decades ago could do cut & paste–why would any one imagine that such a state-of-the-art device from Apple would be devoid of such a featured. Why would you neuter such a powerful tool. WHY THE ____?????!#$%@$%^Y Irritated to high heaven. I want to be productive–not ticked.

  • Lander

    Apple is stubborn for not having fixed this cut and paste functionality.

    Heck, right out of the box the iphone is crippled in so many ways, aside from the lack of this cut and paste functionality.

    Like millions of other users who needed this functionality, Apple and Steve Jobs DUPED us all.

    I want my money back!

  • Build Cut and Paste!

    I can’t believe what I am reading.. I must of rubbed the crap out of my iphone 2-3 hundred times trying to figure out how to cut and paste with this. Until finally ending up on the web to find out the thing does’nt do cut and paste. I feel like a damn moron for buying this phone now.. Actually, no Apple should’nt be able to sleep at night knowing they left out this feature. Causing millions to sit and write crap on paper to transfer data here and there. Yeah we are light years ahead of the times now with our crappy Iphones without cut and paste. I think even the bushmen in Africa have devised cut and paste. WTF were you thinking?!?! “Let’s stay so far away from Windows functionality to ween people away from it”? Whatever the hell was going on during those drunken development meetings get back to the drawing boards and build CUT AND PASTE FUNCTIONALITY!! Who the F@^& would build anything without this feature? Oh yeah, Apple. Call it PEEL and PLANT or ^#@^& Iglue just build it.


  • Charlie

    Just curious, what exactly is it that you’re looking to copy-and-paste so frequently on your mobile phone? URLs into emails I guess I might want to occasionally copy into an email to someone, but it’s hard enough to type on the iphone, if I was writing a blog post or anything else I’d still just wait to get to a real PC.

    • Dlm8169

      im on fb trying to cut n paste i use to do it but trouble now

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