Copy text from any Android app with Universal Copy

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 24, 2018
Updated • Jun 25, 2018
Apps, Google Android

Universal Copy is a free application for Google's Android operating system that you may use to copy any text that you encounter on devices running Android.

While you can copy text from some Android applications you can't do so in others. If you use the eBay app, you may notice for instance that you can't copy auction titles even though the titles are displayed as text.

The same is true for other popular applications that prevent the copying of text: Facebook's Locale app does not support the copying of text, you can't copy text displayed in the Airbnb app, and even Google Play prevents that you copy text.

You could write down the text manually or create a screen capture instead if that is permitted, but both options may not be appropriate at times.

Universal Copy for Android

universal copy android

Universal Copy is compatible with Android version 4.1 and newer. It installed fine on an Android Oreo device by Nokia but some users reported issues with certain devices in the comment section on Google Play.

You need to add the application to the Accessibility services on the device before you may use it. Just click on the Universal Copy toggle in the application interface and follow the instructions to do so.

Note that you give the app far-reaching control over what is displayed on the screen but that is necessary for it to work.

Usage is simple and straightforward. Bring up the notification area on your device with the app that you want to copy text from open at that time. Tap on the Universal Copy notification that is displayed all the time by default and tap on "Activate Universal Copy Mode" to use it to copy text.

This launches the Universal Copy interface "around" the open application. All you have to do then is to tap on the text that you want to copy.

The selected text is displayed at the bottom afterward and you may either copy it to the Clipboard of the Android device or use the device's share functionality to share it instead.

Tip: you may hide the permanent notification that Universal Copy displays by default and switch to long-press activation instead.  You may map the long-tap to the following buttons: back, recent apps / menu, home, volume up or down.

If you don't copy text regularly, you may want to disable the extension and turn it on only when it is needed.

Closing words

Universal Copy is a useful Android application if you want to copy text sometimes or regularly but can't do so because applications do not permit it.

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  1. Ashik saheb said on January 21, 2020 at 10:28 am


  2. Cool Raoul said on June 25, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Not available on the Play store anymore

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 25, 2018 at 9:17 pm

      Don’t know what happened. I changed the link to point to APK Mirror.

      1. Q said on October 29, 2018 at 5:24 am

        The app does appear on the Google Play store for me:

  3. hylen said on April 25, 2018 at 4:47 am

    The access most apps demand seems dubious to me. This one certainly no different.

  4. naveed said on April 24, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    I find the fact that it has full network permissions a little scary.

    This app has access to:
    bind to an accessibility service
    view network connections
    full network access
    prevent device from sleeping

    1. John Fenderson said on April 25, 2018 at 12:42 am

      Martin mentioned the wide-ranging permissions. Accessibility I can understand, but the rest seem dubious to me.

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