I'm on MacOS Catalina 10.15.3 (Darwin 19.3.0). My Mac frequently gets into a state where every attempt to paste from the system clipboard freezes the application I'm pasting in to for about 30s, meaning I see a "beachball" when hovering over that application, but can still use other applications.

It also happens with pbcopy/pbpaste:

echo foo | pbcopy
time pbpaste

real 0m30.031s
user 0m0.226s
sys  0m0.202s

It takes almost exactly 30s every time. Note that there is also no output from pbpaste.

I can temporarily resolve it by running rm ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist && killall Finder, but the issue returns within minutes. Rebooting does not help.

How can I resolve this?

  • Try booting into Safe Mode (Hold Shift while booting) and see if the problem persists. – Allan Feb 21 at 14:08
  • Also check if the problem occurs in a new user account. – benwiggy Feb 21 at 15:11
  • It does not occur in a new user account (yet) – rcorre Feb 21 at 18:10
  • The issue appeared on the new user account after about a day of use – rcorre Feb 25 at 14:33
  • I have the same issue (apple.stackexchange.com/questions/383624/…) and nobody seem to know what to do – user1256923 Apr 20 at 5:53
  • Open the Terminal application, found in /Applications/Utilities/
  • Type the following command exactly:

    killall pboard
  • Hit Return

This will terminate and relaunch the pboard process, which is the clipboard daemon for Mac OS. This should resolve your issue.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks, but I already tried killing pboard and it doesn't seem to help. – rcorre Feb 21 at 18:09
  • Actually, killing pboard does stop paste from freezing, if only because it clears the clipboard. However, the freezes return as soon as I copy something again. – rcorre Feb 25 at 14:34

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