3 Best Fixes for Copy and Paste Not Working on Mac

3 Best Fixes for Copy and Paste Not Working on Mac

Fix copy and paste of selected image from Mac

You might be wondering why your MacBook fails to copy and / or paste anything. This happens for a myriad of reasons, including issues with certain system processes, bugs, etc.

Before moving on to the solutions, make sure that you copy and paste the correct way, using the appropriate shortcuts: Command + C to copy, Command + X to cut, and Command + V to paste. If these combinations don’t work – perhaps because you have a broken keyboard – use the Edit menu bar function to perform the copy and paste actions.

Click Edit on the menu bar and select the appropriate actions you want to perform.


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If you still cannot copy or paste text or files using keyboard shortcuts or Edit on your Mac, skip to the section below for solutions.

1. Force quit Pasteboard Server

Pboard is the short form of Pasteboard Server. This program makes it easy to exchange information on your Mac. When you copy or cut data from an application, the edit server temporarily stores the content. This same program makes copied content available when you paste it into an app. Think of it as your Mac’s clipboard.


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If the copy and paste feature does not work properly on your Mac, the Pasteboard Server may be having problems. Therefore, stopping the edit table server may help. This will give it a refresh and hopefully the copy and paste functionality will work on your Mac again.

There are two ways to complete the pboard process on a Mac.

Force quit Pasteboard Server via Activity Monitor

Follow the steps below to stop the edit table server from Activity Monitor.

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


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2nd step: Double click on Activity Monitor.


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Step 3: Type board in the activity monitor search box and double-click the table in the results window.


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Step 4: Click on the Exit button.


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Step 5: Finally, select Force Quit.


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This will kill the edit table server process and restart it immediately.

Note: Force quitting pboard will delete the recently copied content stored in the memory of the edit table server. Before exiting pboard, make sure that you still have access to the copied content so that you can easily copy it back when pboard turns back on.

Force quit Pasteboard Server via terminal

You can also use the Terminal app to refresh the pboard process. Here’s how.

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


Fixed copy and paste not working on Mac

2nd step: Double click on Terminal.


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Step 3: Paste the following into the Terminal console and press Return on your keyboard.

sudo killall pboard

When you will need to enter your system administrative password to use this command.


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And that’s all. The edit table server will be stopped and restarted automatically by your Mac. Now try to copy and paste some content and see if it works.

Fun fact: The Pasteboard Server is also responsible for drag and drop operations on your Mac. So, if you are unable to drag and drop files to your MacBook, force closing pboard may help resolve the issue.

2. Kill the WindowServer process


Fix mac 01 image copy and paste not working

We found that some affected Mac users with similar issues could make copy and paste work again by removing the WindowServer process. You can try this if forcing pboard to shut down does not resolve the issue. Follow the steps below to do so.

Note: We strongly recommend that you save any current tasks on your Mac before continuing. This is because removing the WindowServer process will immediately log you out of your Mac and close all active windows. You will then need to log in with your Mac’s password. When you do so, closed apps and windows will be automatically reopened and you may lose unsaved tasks.

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


Fixed copy and paste not working on Mac

2nd step: Double click on Activity Monitor.


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Step 3: Type windowserver in the search box and double-click WindowServer.


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Step 4: Click on the Exit button.


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Step 5: Finally, tap on Force Quit.


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3. Restart Mac

If you still cannot copy or paste content despite refreshing the Pasteboard Server, restart your Mac. Save all running tasks, click the Apple logo in the upper right corner of the menu bar and select Restart.


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Check if copy and paste now works when your Mac turns on again.

Get your Mac checked

If none of the above methods resolve the issue, you should go to an Apple Authorized Service Center near you to have your Mac checked for a complex software or hardware issue. It’s also a good idea to update your Mac’s operating system to the latest version to help eliminate bugs that prevent copy and paste from working.

Then:

Read the following link below to see the five (5) best clipboard manager apps you can use to boost productivity on your Mac.

Last updated on Dec 8, 2020

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