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, 2020 at 14:08
  • Also check if the problem occurs in a new user account.
    – benwiggy
    Feb 21, 2020 at 15:11
  • It does not occur in a new user account (yet)
    – rcorre
    Feb 21, 2020 at 18:10
  • The issue appeared on the new user account after about a day of use
    – rcorre
    Feb 25, 2020 at 14:33
  • 1
    Anyone found any solution? This is very annoying. Core functionality is not working fine!!!
    – vijayinani
    Jan 21, 2023 at 14:36

3 Answers 3

  • 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.

  • Thanks, but I already tried killing pboard and it doesn't seem to help.
    – rcorre
    Feb 21, 2020 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, 2020 at 14:34

Let’s try to understand what the system is doing during the hang:

  1. Run the following command to enable kernel symbolication: sudo nvram boot-args="keepsyms=1"
  2. Reboot your machine and don’t open any apps except for Terminal.
  3. In one Terminal window, run your pbpaste invocation.
  4. In a second Terminal window, run the following, making sure you’re only running it during the window of time that pbpaste is hung: sudo spindump -reveal -noProcessingWhileSampling
  5. After waiting for 10 seconds to collect a sample and another minute or two to symbolicate and format, you’ll get a file in /tmp/spindump.txt that contains a stackshot of every process.
  6. Upload the file to PasteBin or some equivalent place and we can take a look to see what pbpaste is blocked on.
  • Thanks for the comment! Unfortunately I ended up reimaging my entire system to fix it. So far it hasn't come back.
    – rcorre
    Feb 9, 2021 at 21:28

Press Option ⌥+5.

Worked for me.

Ref. - https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/139334/445040

  • 1
    Hello, vijayinani. This is considered a "link-only" answer. It would be helpful for future visitors to this question if you would edit in a summary of that page. Links can become broken or outdated so a summary would still provide the necessary information.
    – agarza
    Oct 10, 2022 at 4:14

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