How to Fix “Sorry, No Manipulations with Clipboard Allowed” error on Mac

Is the copy-paste command not working on your Mac computer? This post highlights a few potential fixes to deal with the “Sorry, no manipulations with clipboard allowed” error message when trying to copy-paste on Mac.

Copy and paste is among the widely used shortcut controls on both Windows and Mac computers. This command is executed when moving files from one location to another, creating backup of important files and folders, as well as when copying a huge chunk of encoded text. Such shortcut controls also play a key role when entering complex combinations of characters like passwords and serial numbers to ensure accuracy. The execution of the copy-paste commands vary between platforms (Windows or Mac). 

If for some reason the copy-paste method doesn’t work on your Mac computer and you’re getting the “Sorry, no manipulations with clipboard allowed” error message, it denotes a problem that you need to fix. 

What triggers the “Sorry, no manipulations with clipboard allowed” error?

In most cases, the error occurs when the clipboard is stuck, when a third-party app is not functioning or the Mac OS itself is misbehaving due to some broken codes or data corruption. The same thing can happen if several websites are left open on the computer.

More often than not, the underlying cause of this error is software-related. That said, it is highly likely to be resolved by end-users.

Troubleshooting “Sorry, no manipulations with clipboard allowed” error on Mac

To rule out minor software issues that might have triggered this error to occur when attempting to copy and paste a text on your Mac computer, I’ve mapped out a few potential fixes that you can try on.

Before you begin performing the given solutions, verify and ensure that your keyboard is working properly. An apparent reason why the copy-paste shortcut isn’t working is due to a dysfunctional key. To rule this out, you can try using other options to copy-paste on your Mac including the Context Menu and the Edit Menu. If the error doesn’t occur and you’re able to copy-paste through either the context and edit menu, it means that something’s wrong with the keyboard and thus, hardware issue is more likely the root cause of the problem. Otherwise, apply the following methods.

First Fix: Restart your Mac.

Performing a simple restart can help fix various types of system glitches including those that trigger the “Sorry, no manipulations with clipboard allowed” error. So if you haven’t already, give your Mac a clean, fresh reboot with these steps:

  • Click on the Apple icon/logo on the top-left corner.
  • Select Restart from the menu options.
  • If prompted, click Restart to confirm. Or,  you can choose Shutdown to power the device off completely and then turn it back on again after a few seconds.
  • Allow the system to execute the reboot sequence.

Once it’s finished rebooting, try to copy and paste to see if the error is gone.

Second Fix: End/Quit pBoard Process via Activity Monitor.

Activity Monitor is Mac’s version of the Task Manager app in Windows. Here, you will see all processes and services that are currently running and utilizing the system resources. Any of these background processes, particularly “pboard” might have interfered with the copy-paste command and therefore triggers the error. 

Another tweak is to force close or end the process named pboard or Pasteboard. It’s one of the most mature components of MacOS run by a tiny background service with which the app communicates through XPC messages. 

Pasteboards can hold multiple items. If any of these items gets corrupted, there’s a tendency for relevant errors to occur. 

To clear this out, launch the Activity Monitor on your Mac computer then end the pboard process with these steps:

  • Quit all the affected apps (where copy paste is not functioning.)
  • After closing the apps, launch the Activity Monitor by going to Finder-> Applications-> Utilities. Alternatively, you can type Activity Monitor through Spotlight search.
  • Then, type pboard into the search field in the top-right corner.
  • Select/click the pboard process from the results and then click the X button in the toolbar.
  • Click the Force Quit button on the pop-up to confirm action.
  • Aside from the pboard process, also consider ending the WindowServer process if you see it among other running processes in the Activity Monitor.
  • After quitting the pboard and WindowServer processes, exit/close the Activity Monitor. 

To see if the problem is fixed, re-open the app that contains the texts you’d like to copy-paste then test to see if the error disappears.

Third Fix: Force close clipboard via terminal.

To rule out the possibility that the Clipboard might have been stuck, you can execute the force or killall command using the Terminal app. Here’s how:

  • Launch the Finder app then go to Applications-> Utilities menu.
  • Alternatively, you can search for and launch the Terminal app using Spotlight search.
  • On the terminal, enter the command line killall pboard then press Return.

That should force close the stuck clipboard. After executing the killall command, quit the Terminal app. Then, retry launching the app from which you’re trying to copy-paste a chunk of text or information.

Other Suggestions

  • Update your Mac. Installing the latest firmware update for your Mac computer is also recommended. This might also be the key to resolving the issue, especially if the “Sorry, no manipulations with clipboard allowed” error is attributed to some stubborn bugs that might have ruined the integrated copy-paste function of the MacOS keyboard system.

Hope this helps!

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