Fix Copy and Paste Not Working on Mac


The ability to quickly copy and paste text, images, and files is an essential productivity feature on any computer. But sometimes, the copy and paste commands can suddenly stop working on your Mac. If you’re encountering issues like paste options not showing up or the system prompting “please wait to share in a while,” don’t panic. In this guide, you’ll learn how to troubleshoot and resolve problems with copy and paste not working on Mac.

Diagnosing Copy and Paste Problems on Mac

Before you can fix your Mac’s copy and paste functionality, you need to understand the exact problem you’re facing.

Here are some common copy and paste failures:

  • Can’t copy text or images
  • Paste options greyed out
  • Keyboard shortcuts not pasting
  • Frequent “please wait to share in a while” messages
  • Copied items not actually pasting
  • Paste working inconsistently
  • Permission issues pasting into apps

Pinpointing the specific error will help you troubleshoot the cause and find the right solution.

Confirm App Permissions

If pasting on Mac works in some apps but not others, it’s likely an app permission issue. Make sure the app has access to features like your clipboard.

Test Keyboard Shortcuts

Try shortcut keys like Command+C to copy and Command+V to paste. If they don’t work, it indicates a system-wide issue.

Restart and Test Again

A quick restart can solve transient paste issues. Copy something and paste after rebooting to see if that fixes it.

Check Multiple Locations

Don’t just test paste in one document. Verify if copying and pasting works between different apps and locations on your Mac.

How to Fix “Can’t Paste Please Wait to Share in a While” Error

Seeing a “please wait to share in a while” message when attempting to paste on your Mac? This annoying error is usually caused by apps accessing your clipboard too frequently.

To stop the error:

Close Unnecessary Apps

Quit any apps running in the background that could be trying to access your clipboard.

Log Out Then Back In

Fully logging out and back in again clears any app clipboard access and resolves the issue.

Reset the Clipboard

In System Preferences > General, turn off clipboard access for 30 seconds. Then turn it on again.

Restart Your Mac

Rebooting your Mac essentially resets the clipboard and will stop the “please wait” error from appearing.

Update macOS

Make sure you’re running the latest version of macOS for bug fixes relating to the clipboard.

How to Use Copy and Paste Again on Your Mac

If copy and paste has completely stopped working on your Mac, use these troubleshooting tips to get it functioning again:

Check App Permissions

Make sure the app you’re pasting into has permission to access your Mac’s clipboard.

Toggle Feature On/Off

In System Preferences > Security & Privacy, toggle clipboard access off and on again.


Resetting NVRAM resets settings like clipboard data. Shut down and restart Mac, then press Command+Option+P+R while rebooting.

Create New User Account

Create a new user account and check if copy/paste works there. This determines if it’s a user-specific issue.

Run Maintenance Scripts

Apple’s maintenance scripts can clear out clipboard cache files. Run `sudo periodic daily weekly monthly` in Terminal.

Back Up and Restore macOS

Backing up your data and performing a clean reinstall of macOS will reset everything, including clipboard function.

Best Practices for Copy and Paste on Mac

Once you’ve fixed your immediate copy/paste issues, utilize these tips for smooth functionality ongoing:

  • Keep macOS updated with the latest versions
  • Don’t overload your clipboard history
  • Use reputable apps and grant permission cautiously
  • Never force quit apps while they’re accessing the clipboard
  • Log out and back in if the clipboard acts up
  • Use Time Machine backups in case of corruption issues

Following best practices for how to copy and paste on Mac can prevent frustrating problems in the future.

Common Copy-Paste Keyboard Shortcuts on Mac

Memorize these handy keyboard shortcuts for efficient cut/copy/pasting on your Mac:

  • Command+C: Copy selected item
  • Command+X: Cut selected item
  • Command+V: Paste item from clipboard
  • Control+V: Paste without formatting
  • Option+Shift+Command+V: Paste and match destination formatting
  • Command+Option+Shift+V: Move item to clipboard
  • Option+Command+D: Duplicate document or object

Learning the key copy and paste shortcuts will make you a Mac power user!


With the right troubleshooting techniques, you can get copy and paste functioning again on your misbehaving Mac. Remember to check app permissions, toggle the feature on/off, reset NVRAM, create new accounts, and use Apple’s maintenance scripts as needed. Implementing copy-paste best practices like keeping macOS updated, limiting clipboard usage, and utilizing keyboard shortcuts will keep your productivity soaring.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top