Sorry, No Manipulations With Clipboard Allowed? (Here’s the Fix!)

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Is there anything more frustrating than trying to copy something on your Mac and getting the error “Sorry, No Manipulations with Clipboard Allowed” message?

It’s annoying, but luckily it’s an easy problem to fix. This troubleshooting guide will help you figure it out and get the issue fixed so you can use the clipboard without any issue.

What Does “Sorry, No Manipulations With Clipboard Allowed” Mean, and What Causes It?

As the name suggests, this error is caused when you try to copy or paste something on your Mac, and you receive the following error message: “Sorry, No Manipulations With Clipboard Allowed.”

This error can be caused by a number of reasons, but the most common reason is that your security settings are preventing you from copying and pasting.

However, there are a few other reasons that cause this error. We’ve listed the most common ones down below.

  • The system is preventing you from manipulating the clipboard for security reasons.
  • You don’t have the necessary permissions to manipulate the clipboard.
  • The application you’re using to copy/paste data is not allowed to access the clipboard.
  • The clipboard is currently in use by another application.
  • The clipboard is full or empty.
  • Your Mac is infected by Malware or a Virus.

However, the good news is that you can quickly fix most, if not all of these issues. 

9 Ways to Fix the “Sorry, No Manipulations With Clipboard Allowed” Error On Your Mac

Here are seven ways to troubleshoot the “Sorry, No Manipulations With Clipboard Allowed” Error on a Mac:

  1. Reboot your system
  2. Restart the ‘pboard’ Server using Activity Monitor
  3. Reset ‘pboard’ Server using Terminal
  4. Force Quit the Windowserver Process
  5. Run maintenance scripts on your Mac
  6. Delete caches files
  7. Update macOS
  8. Reinstall macOS
  9. Scan Mac for Malware

1. Reboot Your System

A common reason your Mac’s clipboard is no longer working is minor glitches—which you can fix via a simple reboot. 

To restart, just click on the Apple icon on the top left corner of your screen. Then, in the drop-down menu, click “Restart…”

Restart macOS
Restart macOS. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor

2. Restart the ‘pboard’ Server Using Activity Monitor

The pboard server is a system process that handles the clipboard on macOS. If you find that the clipboard is not working properly, you may need to restart the pboard server. You can do this with the Activity Monitor application.

  1. Open Spotlight Search by pressing the Command(⌘) key and Spacebar together. Then search for Activity Monitor and launch the application.
Open Activity Monitor
Open Activity Monitor. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor
  1. In the window that opens up, go to the search bar, type in “pboard,” and press return.
search for pboard in the activity monitor
Search for “pboard” in the Activity Monitor. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor
  1. Double-click on the pboard server to view more details aboutthe service.
double click on pboard in activity monitor
Double click on pboard in Activity Monitor. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor
  1. From the pop-up window that appears, click Quit to exit the service.
click quit pboard in activity monitor
Click Quit to close pboard. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor
  1. Another pop-up will appear asking for your confirmation to quit this process. Click Quit to confirm.
click quit to close pboard from activity monitor
Click Quit to close pboard. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor

Doing this will quit the pasteboard and clear the cache before automatically restarting. Try copy and paste something on your Mac to see what happens. Still not working? Jump into the next step below.

3. Reset ‘pboard’ Server Using Terminal

You can also restart the pasteboard server using Mac’s Terminal to fix the error.

  1. To do this, go into Spotlight Search, search for “Terminal,” and launch the application.
open terminal from spotlight search
Open Terminal. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor
  1. When Terminal is launched, type in the “killall pboard” command and hit return. This will restart the pasteboard. You can also type “sudo killall pboard” instead of the previous instruction, this will require you to enter your Mac’s password.
Enter Terminal command to quit pboard
Enter Terminal command to quit pboard. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor

4. Force Quit the Windowserver Process

If none of the previous methods have worked and your Mac continues to show you the “Sorry, No Manipulations With Clipboard Allowed” error on your screen, you may need to restart your Mac’s window server by force quitting it.  

The window server in your Mac is a background process that manages the on-screen windows you currently have open. This server’s failure leads to many errors, including the clipboard function failure. 

To restart your WindowServer, follow the steps below:

  1. Open Spotlight Search again, type in “Activity Monitor,” and launch the application.
Open Activity Monitor
Open Activity Monitor. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor
  1. When the window of the Activity Monitor opens, type in “Window Server” in the search bar. Then double-click the WindowServer process from the list to open its details.
search for windowsserver in activity monitor
Search for WindowServer in Activity Monitor. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor
  1. Click the Quit button to exit the process.
quit windowserver from activity monitor
Quit WindowServer from Activity Monitor. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor
  1. You will receive a confirmation pop-up. Click Quit again to proceed.
Click Quit to close WindowServer
Click Quit to close WindowServer. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor

This will restart your WindowServer and hopefully fix all the possible bugs related to it. 

5. Run Maintenance Scripts on Your Mac

Your Mac automatically runs maintenance scripts on a regular basis to keep your Mac running smoothly. You may need to run these scripts manually just to clear this problem.

run maintenance scripts on Mac
Run Maintenance Scripts on Your Mac. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

Here’s how to run maintenance scripts on your Mac:

  1. Navigate to the Utilities folder in Applications or open Terminal through Spotlight.
  2. When Terminal opens, type in the command “sudo periodic daily weekly monthly” and enter your Mac’s password when prompted.
  3. Wait until the scripts have finished running.

See if you have any issues by copying and pasting something onto your Mac. Continue on to the next step if you are still encountering the “Sorry, no manipulations with clipboard allowed” error.

6. Delete Cache Files

For proper operation, every software on your Mac creates temporary data. These files, commonly referred to as cache files, make apps work, but they can also interfere with your system.

It’s possible that the “Sorry, No Manipulation With Clipboard Allowed” error is a result of an incorrect cache file in your Mac.

Delete Cache files on a Mac computer
Delete Cache files on a Mac computer. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

To delete cache files on your Mac, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Finder app.
  2. Select Go in the menu bar, and hold down the Option key.
  3. Select Library from the dropdown menu to delete these files.
  4. Next, open the Caches folder and delete all the files inside.

Now try to copy and paste something on your Mac to see if you run into any issues. If you still encounter the “Sorry, no manipulations with clipboard allowed” error, move on to the next step.

7. Update macOS

Macs rarely fail, but digital bugs can often crop up due to software updates. Check for updates if restarting your Mac and servers does not solve your issue. 

Here’s how to update your macOS.

  1. Open System Preferences.
open system preferences from apple menu
Open System Preferences from Apple menu. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor
  1. Click “Software Update.”
open software update from system preferences
Navigate to Software Update in System Preferences. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor
  1. If there’s an update available, you’ll see a “Restart Now” button. Click it to install the new macOS update.
restart macOS to update software
Restart macOS to install software update. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor

Once the update has been completely installed, try copying/pasting data to see if the issue has been resolved. 

8. Reinstall macOS

If you’ve recently updated your MacBook or if it was already running the latest version of macOS, and you’re still getting the “Sorry, No Manipulations with Clipboard Allowed” error message when you try to copy/paste something, reinstalling macOS is your last resort.

However, before you proceed with reinstalling macOS, you must have a backup ready in case of an installation failure. 

Here’s how to reinstall your macOS: 

  1. First, restart your Mac and wait for the Apple logo to appear on the screen.
restart macOS from apple menu
Restart macOS. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor
  1. As soon as the Mac logo appears, simultaneously hold the Command(⌘) + R on an Intel Mac or press and hold the power button on a M1 Mac.
  2. From the macOS Utilities window that opens up, click Reinstall macOS.
reinstall macOS from utility
Click Reinstall macOS. Screenshot: Ojash Yadav/Gotechtor
  1. Click Continue and follow the instructions on the screen.
  2. If you’re asked to choose a disk, click Show All Volumes, then select your startup disk from the list.
  3. 5. Click Install, then follow the instructions on the screen.
  4. Your Mac will restart when it’s done reinstalling.

9. Scan Your Mac For Malware

Hopefully, one of the fixes mentioned above will troubleshoot the error. If not, you might have more severe problems to attend to. 

Although Macs rarely get infected with malware or viruses, they are not immune to them. There are many reasons your Mac could get a virus or malware infection.

Perhaps you accidentally downloaded a malicious file or visited a malicious website. Maybe you received an email with an infected attachment or clicked on a malicious link. 

Whatever the cause, once your Mac is infected, the virus or malware can do serious damage. It can steal your personal information, delete your files, or disrupt the normal working of several components of your Mac, including the service responsible for copying and pasting data.

So if you feel like your Mac is running slowly, apps are crashing or freezing, or if you’re seeing pop-ups or other unwanted ads on your Mac, you should run a virus scan and remove any malware that is found.

You can use malware-detecting software, such as McAfee Antivirus Plus to run a diagnostic test and clean your Mac. 

Conclusion 

Fixing the “Sorry, No Manipulations With Clipboard Allowed” Error On a Mac is pretty easy and can be solved by the following methods.

  1. Reboot your system
  2. Restart ‘pboard’ server with the Activity Monitor
  3. Reset ‘pboard’ server via Terminal
  4. Force Quit the WindowServer process
  5. Run maintenance scripts on your Mac
  6. Delete caches files on your Mac
  7. Update macOS
  8. Reinstall macOS
  9. Scan your Mac for malware

In most cases, just rebooting your Mac or restarting the pboard server does the trick. 

And if that doesn’t help, you can always make an Apple Store appointment at a Genius Bar, and a certified expert will be more than happy to help you.

I hope this assisted you in fixing the “Sorry, No Manipulations With Clipboard Allowed” Error On your Mac. In case you fixed the problem with any other solution, please do share it in the comments section.

Photo of author
Ojash started his tech journalism journey six years ago. Fueled by his passion for technology (and coffee), he writes guides that help people solve problems with their computers and smartphones. He specializes in writing about Apple products but also knows a lot about other tech products.

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