Copy-Paste Not Working On Mac? Here Are Fixes To Address The Issue

If you are someone like us, who writes a lot, researches a lot of content, and takes notes, you probably copy-paste a lot. This simple operation saves you the plight of manually writing chunks of text, creating images, or manually typing website links. But, what if, the nightmare actually surfaces and the copy-paste is not working on your Mac.

Don’t worry if you have found yourself in such a situation. Here we have enlisted some of the best things you can do if copy-paste functionality has stopped working on your Mac.

Probable Reasons Why Copy-Paste Has Stopped Working On Your Mac

  • Presence of corrupted cache or system files.
  • The file you are trying to copy is a read-only file.
  • Hidden dust particles on your Mac/ Mac keyboard is damaged.
  • Glitch in Pboard server.
  • Mac keyboard-related issues.

Best Fixes For Copy-Paste Not Working On Mac

Solution No. 1 – Restart Your Mac

This might sound like a cliché but restarting it can help fix the copy-paste issue on your Mac. To restart your Mac –

Step 1 – Click on the Apple icon in the menu bar.

Step 2 – Click on Restart.


Step 3 – When the prompt appears, again click on the Restart button.

Solution No.2 – Use The Mouse To Copy – Paste

Till the time you resolve the copy-paste issue on your keyboard, you can instead use your mouse to copy-paste content. To do that –

Step 1 – Select the content that you want to copy.

Step 2 – Hold down the control key on your keyboard and click on the content that you want to copy. Click on the Copy button.


Step 3 – Head to the location where you want to paste the copied content. Once there, again hold down the control key and click on the area where you want to paste the content.

Step 4 – Click on Paste Item.

Paste item

Solution No. 3 – Check if The File Is Read Only

If a file is set to Read only, you won’t be able to make any edits to it. This also involves copying and pasting it. In this case, you may want to check if the Read only permission is applied to the file that you are trying to copy. And, if it is a read only file, here is how you can remove that permission –

Step 1 – Right-click on the file and select Get Info.

Get info

Step 2 – Click on General and ensure that the Locked is not checked.


Step 3 – Scroll down to the bottom where you can find Sharing & Permissions. Ensure that your account is set to Read & Write.

Read & Write

Solution No. 4 – Force Quit The Pasteboard or Pboard Server

When you copy-paste content from a location, the Pasteboard or Pboard temporarily stores the copied content. However, if there are temporary glitches in the Pboard server, the copy-paste functionality may suffer. The best bet here is to stop the Pboard server. To do that –

Step 1 – Click on Go on the menu bar and select Utilities.


Step 2 – From the list, locate and double-click on the Activity Monitor.

Activity Monitor

Step 3 – In the search section of the Activity Monitor, type pboard.

Step 4 – From the top, click on the i button signifying inspect selected process and click on Quit.


Step 5 – When the prompt appears, click on Force Quit.

It is important to note that force quitting Pboard will delete any recently copied data that might be stored in the Pboard server’s history. So, before you quit Pboard, ensure that you still have the data that you want to copy.

Solution No. 5 – Track and Resolve Hidden Issues

Up until now if you haven’t been able to fix the issue, there are chances that there are deeper system-related issues that need to be addressed. For instance, there could be corrupted cached or preference files.

Here you can use an all-in-one Mac optimizer such as Cleanup My System, that lets you address all such issues with a few clicks.

Mac optimizer software

We have discussed the various aspects of Cleanup My System in this review and have also shown how it can help you tackle various Mac-related issues in no time at all.

Solution No. 6 – Fix Mac Keyboard Issues

In case the Command + C and Command + V options are not working, you can try fixing Mac keyboard issues. To do that –

Step 1 – Click on the Apple menu

Step 2 – Click on System Settings > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard Shortcuts

Step 3 – Select Keyboard

Step 4 – From the right, click on Restore Defaults

Restore Defaults

Solution No. 7 – Try Pasting On Other Apple Devices

Did you know that you can sync clipboard history between Mac and other devices? If you already have, you can try copying data on your Mac and paste it on another device such as your iPhone, iPad, other Mac, or even on a Windows desktop.

Copy, Paste, and Done!

First, what we want you to do is bookmark this post so that the next time, when you aren’t able to copy-paste content, you can swiftly refer to the solutions mentioned in this post. We’d also urge you to share this post with someone whose life depends on copy-pasting on Mac. For more such content, keep reading WeTheGeek. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Flipboard, and Pinterest.

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