Copy and Paste not Working on Mac? Here’s How to Fix

Last Updated on Nov 10, 2022

If you are a writer and copy and paste not working on mac, it becomes an exasperating problem for you. Don’t worry; we will provide various troubleshooting to fix your problem.

Make sure you use the correct combination of keys for copy and paste on Mac. Further, as a reminder, “Command + CCopies data, “Command + Xcut data, while “Command + Vpaste copied data. However, sometimes due to a faulty keyboard, the key won’t work. Hence ensure that your keyboard is in working condition.

If your Hotkey is not working correctly, try copying and pasting using the Menu bar. First, select Edit from the menu bar; choose any option of Cut, Copy, Paste or Paste and Match style. After following the above method to copy and paste, yet it is not working, follow the below fixes.

FIX #1 Force Quite Current App and Relaunch it

Sometimes the issue is with the particular App on mac. Therefore, forcing quitting a specific app and relaunching it may restore the copy-paste function. Here are the steps to the Force quit App on mac.

1# Press the Command + Space bar on the keyboard to Open Spotlight Search. Type Activity Monitor in the Search box and hit return. Else Select Activity Monitor. Here’s, What is an activity Monitor on Mac?

OR

1# Go to Finder > Click on Applications > Utilities >Click on Activity Monitor to Open it.

2# Next, Select the App from the Activity Monitor window. Now Click on the “X icon”(Stop icon) at the top of the Activity Monitor toolbar.

3# Confirmation prompt appears. Select Force Quit.

Now after Force quitting, App facing an issue with copy-paste relaunch app. Again, try Copy paste to check whether it is working or not. However, if the problem persists, try the following troubleshooting.

FIX# 2 Force Quit the Pboard Server

Pboard is the abbreviation of “Pasteboard.” In macOS, Pboard function as a Clipboard daemon or background service. Therefore, it is the temporary storage and conveys copied data from the source folder/App to the destination.

The Pboard is a tiny Clipboard background service that plays a vital role in copy-paste function on mac. Hence if copy-paste is not working, there may be a glitch in the Pboard server. Therefore, Force quitting the Pboard will clear the mac clipboard, and as a result, copy-paste functionality may restore.

There are two ways to force quit Pboard on mac first via Activity Monitor and second via the Terminal.

A) Force Quit Pboard Via Activity Monitor

Try following the steps to force close Pboard via Activity monitor on mac.

1# Press the Command + Space bar on the keyboard to Open Spotlight Search. Type Activity Monitor in the Search box and hit return. Else Select Activity Monitor.

OR

1# Goto Finder >Click on Applications > Select Utilities >Click on Activity Monitor to Open it.

2# Select the Search icon on the top right corner of the activity window.

3# Next, Type “pboard” in the Search Box.

4# Now Click on “X icon”(Stop icon) at top from Activity Monitor toolbar.

5# Confirmation prompt appears. Select Force Quit.

The above steps will terminate the pboard via Activity Monitor. Then, after a few seconds, try copy-pasting again.

B) Force Quit Pboard Via Terminal

Here are the steps to close the pboard using Terminal.

1# Goto Finder and click Application.

2# Under Utilities, Select Terminal.

Alternatively,

1# Press the Command + Space bar on the keyboard to Open Spotlight Search.

2# Now, Type “Terminal”  in the Search box and hit return.

3# Type “Sudo Killall pboard” in the Terminal console and Press Return on the keyboard.

5# Next, Enter your Mac Password and hit Return.

After following the above steps, check whether copy – paste on Mac is working.

FIX #3 Force close WindowServer Process

Windowserver is a necessary Process in macOS as it facilitates communication between visual interface and Application. Hence Force quitting WindowServer can help remove any system-level issue causing copy-paste not working on mac.

Before Force Close, “WindowServer,” make sure to save and close all other running applications. Here are the steps to force quit Windowserver on mac.

1# Press the Command + Space bar on the keyboard to Open Spotlight Search.

2# Type Activity Monitor in the Search box and hit return.

3# Next, Type “Window Server” in the Search Box.

4# Now Click on “X icon”(Stop icon) at top from Activity Monitor toolbar.

 5# Confirmation prompt appears. Select Force Quit.

The above process will log you out and close all current Active App. However, all closed Applications will launch once you sign in, but as a precautionary measure, you need to save data.

FIX #4 Reboot Mac

If you have tried all the above troubleshooting and still facing the issue of copy-paste not working on your mac, then try to reboot your mac. Rebooting your mac will refresh your macOS. Therefore, sometimes complex fixes won’t work, but a simple reboot can resolve the problem. But before rebooting, ensure to save all your data as it may get lost.

To reboot your mac, Goto Apple logo and select the Restart Option.

FIX #5 Update Mac

The initial versions of any macOS come with bugs and issues. Hence you must require updating mac as soon as possible.

1. Select AppleLogo On your Mac and Click on System Settings

2. Now, select Software Update.

3. Prompt will appear; now ensure that your Mac software version is the latest.

4. If not, then update it.

We often ignore basic troubleshooting, but it works wonderfully in some cases. Hence, we must try it.

FIX #6 Restart in Safe Mode

Safe Mode in mac will help you determine if the problem is caused due to corrupt any third-party software or apps.

Try to Restart your Mac in Safe Mode, then test Copy Paste in Safe Mode. Now exit safe Mode and try again Copy and paste into Normal Mode.

FIX #7 Delete and Reinstall App.

If you are facing trouble in copy paste in particular App, then delete that App. Now reinstall it again and check whether copy and paste are working. In addition, ensure that the App is up to date.

FIX #8 Disable any Conflicting App

Sometimes third-party apps like security/cleaner apps may conflict with another app on mac. Hence it won’t allow other apps to work correctly. Therefore, if there is an option to disable conflicting apps, disable it. Now try again; copy and paste.

FIX #9 Chang Modifier Key Behavior on Mac

If none of the above fixes worked for you, try changing the modifier key behavior on mac.

Here are the steps to do so.

1. Go to system settings.

2. Select Keyboard.

3. Under “Press fn key to,” Click on the “Keyboard Shortcuts” button.

4. Select “Modifier keys” from the left.

Now from the drop-down, change Option to CMD or CMD to Option.

Then, again, try Copy paste if it works or not on your mac computer.

HowtoiSolve Staff

Jaysukh Patel is the founder of howtoisolve. Also self Professional Developer, Techno lover mainly for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and iOS, Jaysukh is one of responsible person in his family. Contact On: jaysukh.pharma@gmail.com [OR] admin@howtoisolve.com

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