Mac Copy Paste Not Working: Common Problems and Solutions


Mac computers are some of the most popular in the entire world. This is true for most Apple devices, actually — it seems like nearly every other person on the street has an iPhone. Unfortunately, Mac computers are not immune to problems, and it’s important that you understand how to fix them.

Is your Mac copy paste not working? Let’s take a look at how you can resolve this issue.

Use Activity Monitor

Using the Activity Monitor to help this problem is relatively straightforward. It will allow you to restart a key process that is responsible for managing copy/paste data. First, navigate to the menu bar at the top of your screen and click “Go.”

Then, click “Utilities” at the bottom of this menu. This will bring up a list of different applications related to the key processes on your device. Afterward, click the Activity Monitor app.

After you open this program, navigate to the search bar on the top right of the screen. Type “pboard” into the search bar and then click the result that appears.

At the bottom of the window that you navigate to, you can click the quit button. A second window will appear, and you can then Force Quit the program.

This will cause the pasteboard server process to close itself and then immediately restart. More often than not, this will allow you to resolve the issue you have with copy and paste not working. Be sure that you Force Quit the program instead of only quitting it.

Otherwise, this method may not work as intended.

Use The Terminal Application

It’s also possible to use the Terminal application to accomplish the same task.

Although using the command line might seem complicated, it’s nothing to be afraid of. To get started, you can navigate to the Utilities application as you did in the previous step. Then, you can click the Terminal application at the bottom of the list that appears.

When you navigate to the Terminal window, enter the following code into the command line:

sudo killall pboard

After you type this command, you will be asked to enter your administrative password. It’s important to note that you will not be able to view your password as you type it.

So, be sure that you type it correctly to prevent an error from occurring. Afterward, the same result will occur that did in the above scenario. The pasteboard server process will restart on its own, and you should no longer have problems using this functionality.

It’s best to check as soon as you complete this method to see if it worked correctly.

Looking for different ways you can perform this action? You can check out this resource to learn more about it:

Restart Your Computer

Of course, restarting your computer is always an option. Closing down all of your applications and rebooting your operating system is sometimes the perfect fix to issues like the one you are encountering.

Additionally, restarting your Mac is a notably straightforward process. All you need to do is click on the Apple logo in the top left corner of the screen and select “Restart.”

Afterward, you can attempt to copy and paste something to see if you were able to fix the problem. In the event that none of the above processes were able to get back on track, there may be a larger underlying issue that needs your attention.

What Causes Copy and Paste Issues?

More often than not, the pasteboard server process is the reason why you won’t be able to copy and paste as it should. This is why the above methods are centered around resetting this application and forcing it to restart.

However, there are other factors that could be a play. For instance, damage to your keyboard could prevent the copy and paste function from working via keyboard commands.

If you find that you are unable to do so with both your mouse and keyboard, then you can rule out this cause. There’s a chance that there could be malware installed on your computer that is preventing your device from functioning properly.

A situation like this is often the byproduct of a malicious program at work. For example, your computer may be infected with a keylogger. This is an application that records every keystroke made on your device and then transmits this information to the hacker.

However, a bug in the keylogger program could cause it to interfere with the pasteboard process. If you feel as though this may be the root of the issue, it’s best to run a comprehensive virus scan on your computer as soon as possible. If you find that your device has been infected, be sure to change all of your passwords immediately.

Mac Copy Paste Not Working? No Problem!

It’s not as difficult as it seems to resolve this conflict.

The above information will tell you exactly what you need to do if you find that Mac copy paste not working is causing issues with your workflow. Then, you can get back toward using your device as intended.