6 Fixes to Solve Copy and Paste on Mac Not Working

Brithny updated on May 20, 2024 | Home >Computer Instruction

I've been encountering a frustrating issue on my Mac where the copy-and-paste function suddenly stopped working across all applications. Even after restarting the system, the problem persists. How can I resolve this copy-and-paste malfunction?

Do you need help with using the copy-and-paste features on your Mac? It can be aggravating when such simple things go unplanned, ruining your productivity. Don't panic if copy and paste on your Mac is not working!

In this article, we'll cover the most frequent issues people have with copying and pasting on a Mac. We'll investigate the underlying reasons for these problems, ranging from software conflicts to clipboard errors. The solution is intended to assist all users, regardless of experience level, in resolving any issues that may arise when copying and pasting text. Let's explore several solutions for copy and paste on Mac not working problem!

  1. Fix 1. Restart Your Mac
  2. Fix 2. Try Another Way to Copy/Cut and Paste
  3. Fix 3. Force Quit the Pboard Server
  4. Fix 4. Close the WindowServer Process
  5. Fix 5. Try to Paste Copied Content on Other Apple Devices
  6. Fix 6. Check Software Update

There are several reasons why Mac copy and paste feature could not work. It might result from transient system errors, software conflicts with recent installs, or problems with the clipboard. Inadequate system resources or out-of-date software could be a factor in this issue.

If the source or destination of your copy-paste permissions is denied on Mac, your Mac might put its foot down and display the dreaded message. Knowing these possible reasons can help efficiently diagnose and fix the problem, guaranteeing flawless copy-and-paste performance on your Mac. Let's explore some details of fixes for this issue!

Recover Lost Clipboard Data When Copy/Cut & Paste Not Working

Experiencing a malfunction on your Mac that prevents the copy-and-paste functions from working can be very annoying, especially if crucial data is swinging in the balance. The possibility of losing important files, photos, or text fragments due to broken copy-and-paste functionality can be highly stressful and reduce productivity.

But in this situation, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is a ray of hope. This program, which combines robust recovery algorithms with an easy-to-use interface, is a trustworthy ally in the fight against data loss.

With millions of users and a recovery rate of over 99.7%, EaseUS eliminates users' worries about losing clipboard data due to copy-and-paste errors, including recover previous version of PowerPoint. Its robust capabilities ensure that your valuable clipboard content can be retrieved swiftly and effectively, even in the face of technical glitches.

Losing clipboard data due to malfunctioning cut-and-paste functions can significantly disrupt your workflow. Hence, addressing this issue promptly becomes imperative.

Step 1. Select the drive you need to recover lost/deleted files from, and click the "Search for lost files" button.

select a location and scan for lost Mac data

Step 2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will immediately scan your selected disk volume and display the scanning results on the left pane. You can sort the results to find the wanted files if you are looking for certain files.

Select your lost data/files

Step 3. Once you have found the desired files, preview the files and then click "Recover" to begin the recovery of your lost Mac files.

We've also compiled effective solutions to recover lost clipboard data when cut and paste don't work on your Mac, ensuring minimal interruption to your productivity. Let's explore!

Fix 1. Restart Your Mac

Restarting your Mac is a quick and easy way to fix copy-and-paste problems, especially when you get the message shows "Sorry, no manipulations with clipboard allowed". Refreshing the system might fix any underlying bugs that are the source of the issue. It's crucial to know that restarting your Mac could cause data from the clipboard to disappear. To restart your Mac, take the following actions:

Step 1. Access the Apple icon located in the menu bar and click on it.

Step 2. Choose the "Restart" option from the menu that appears.

restart your mac

Step 3. Confirm the restart by clicking on the return button.

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Fix 2. Try Another Way to Copy/Cut and Paste

Consider alternative approaches if traditional copy/cut and paste methods must be fixed on your Mac. You can utilize the Edit toolbar in macOS as an alternative method for copy and paste tasks. Here's how:

Step 1. To begin, select the item you wish to copy or cut.

Step 2. Next, access the macOS toolbar by clicking "Edit" at the top of your screen.

Step 3. Then, choose the "Copy" option to copy the selected item to the clipboard.

select copy

Step 4. Now, navigate to the desired location for pasting and select "Edit". Finally, opt for "Paste" to complete the action.

Fix 3. Force Quit the Pboard Server

If you grapple with stubborn copy-and-paste malfunction on your Mac, a solution worth considering is forcibly quitting the Pboard server. By terminating this system process, you can resolve underlying glitches hindering the smooth operation of copy-and-paste functions. To begin resolving copy and paste issues by force quitting the Pboard server, follow these steps:

Step 1. Launch Finder and navigate to "Applications > Utilities". Locate and open Activity Monitor by double-clicking on it.

Step 2. In the Activity Monitor's search box, type pboard and double-click on the "board" process in the search results.

Step 3. Click the "Quit" button and select "Force Quit" to confirm.

select force quit

Note: Remember that force quitting Pboard will erase recently copied content from the pasteboard server's memory. Ensure you have access to the copied content before proceeding so you can easily recopy it afterward.

force quit not working on Mac

How to Fix Force Quit Not Working on Mac [Step-by-Step]

This article discusses effective methods to force quit an application on a Mac. Read more >>

Fix 4. Close the WindowServer Process

Closing the WindowServer process can serve as a potential solution if you're encountering persistent issues with the copy-and-paste function on your Mac. The WindowServer manages the graphical user interface, and terminating it may help resolve glitches affecting copy-and-paste functionality. However, exercise caution as force-quitting WindowServer could temporarily disrupt your display or potentially lose unsaved clipboard data.

Step 1. Open Finder, then navigate to "Go > Utilities > Activity Monitor".

Step 2. Locate the process named "WindowServer" and select it.

select windowserver

Step 3. Click on the "Quit" option and select "Force Quit" to close the WindowServer process.

Fix 5. Try to Paste Copied Content on Other Apple Devices

If none of the above solutions work to solve copy-and-paste issues on your Mac, try the Universal Clipboard. The Universal Clipboard leverages the continuity features across Apple devices, allowing you to transfer clipboard contents seamlessly. By exploring this option, you may circumvent the copy-and-paste malfunction on your Mac and continue your workflow uninterrupted.

Step 1. Click on the Apple menu and then "System Settings".

Step 2. Click on "General", then go to "Airdrop and Handoff" and enable "Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices".

enable universal clipboard

Fix 6. Check Software Update

Checking for software updates is crucial in troubleshooting copy-and-paste issues on your Mac. Outdated software can sometimes cause conflicts or glitches, impacting various system functionalities, including copy and paste. Here's how to check for software updates on your Mac:

Step 1. Start by clicking on the Apple logo in the top menu bar and selecting "System Settings."

Step 2. Within System Preferences, locate and click "General > Software Update".

software update mac

Step 3. Allow your Mac to complete the process of checking for updates. If found, select "Update Now".


In conclusion, it's important to fix copy and paste problems on your Mac carefully and patiently. There are various solutions to solve the error. These include restarting your Mac, trying different copy-and-paste methods, quitting WindowServer processes, and more. If you face data loss or need advanced recovery, consider using EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac. It's a reliable option to recover lost data effectively. Give it a try now to enjoy its benefits!

Copy and Paste on Mac Not Working FAQs

Now, let's discuss some common questions related to the copy-and-paste issue on Mac:

1. How do you enable copy and paste on Mac?

All you need to do is select the text and choose "Copy". Then, right-click where you want to paste and select "Paste."

2. Why is my copy and paste not working?

Copy and paste features on Mac can cause trouble due to multiple reasons. Some of which include software problems or clashes with other apps. To fix it, try restarting your Mac, updating your software, or making sure your Mac has enough memory.

3. Why is Ctrl C not working on my Mac?

The "Ctrl + C" shortcut is for Windows. Macs typically use "Command + C" for copy functions. If it is not working, check your keyboard settings.

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech lives easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. In her spare time, she loves sharing things about her game experience on Facebook or Twitter.

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