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Fix: Ctrl+C not working on Mac

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Photo: Farknot Architect / Shutterstock.com

Photo: Farknot Architect / Shutterstock.com

As a new Mac user, you may be frustrated with some keyboard shortcuts. Maybe you want to copy text, images, or other data from one application to another; you will notice that the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C or Ctrl+V won’t work on Macs.

This article will explain why Ctrl+C is not working on Mac and how to fix it.


Why does Ctrl+C not work on Mac?

The main reason Ctrl+C does not work on Mac is that the Mac keyboard layout differs from the Windows keyboard layout.

On a Windows keyboard, the Ctrl key is located on the bottom left and right corners of the keyboard, and it is used for various shortcuts, such as Ctrl+C for copy, Ctrl+V for paste, and Ctrl+Z for undo.

On a Mac keyboard, however, the Ctrl key is only located in the bottom left corner and is not used for these shortcuts. Instead, the Mac keyboard uses the Command key, which is located next to the spacebar, for these shortcuts.

So, on a Mac, you must press Command+C for copy, Command+V for paste, and Command+Z for undo.

The Ctrl key on Mac keyboards is mainly used for controlling the cursor in terminal applications, such as Terminal or iTerm. For example, you can use Ctrl+A to move the cursor to the beginning of the line or Ctrl+E to move it to the end of the line. You can also use Ctrl+C to interrupt a running process in the terminal, such as a script or a command.

However, if you try to use Ctrl+C to copy something in a non-terminal application, such as Safari or Pages, it will not work. Instead, you need to use Command+C to copy on Mac.

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How to fix Ctrl+C not working on Mac?

There are two ways to fix Ctrl+C not working on Mac:

Changing the keyboard settings

If you want to use Ctrl+C to copy on Mac, you can change the keyboard settings to swap the functions of the Command and Ctrl keys.

To do this, follow these steps:

Step 1: Head to Apple menu > System Preferences > Keyboard.

Step 2: Select Modifier keys.

Step 3: Select your keyboard from the drop-down menu. Now, change the option for the Command key to Control and vice-versa.


Using an alternative shortcut

If you do not want to change the keyboard settings, you can use an alternative shortcut to copy on Mac: Option+Command+C.

This shortcut works in most applications and does not interfere with the terminal functions of the Ctrl key.

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Frequently answered questions (FAQs)

Let us dive into some FAQs on the topic:

How do I enable Ctrl C on my Mac?

There is no way for you to use Ctrl+C to copy a text or an image on Mac. However, you can change the keyboard settings to use the control key on Mac as the command key.

Head to Apple menu > System Preferences > Keyboard. Select Modifier Keys. Now, change the option for the Command key to Control and vice-versa.


What is the alternative to Ctrl C on a Mac?

On a Mac, you must press Command+C for copy, Command+V for paste, and Command+Z for undo.

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Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: [email protected]

  • Keto says:

    Been struggling with Ctrl+C not working on my Mac, and your fix did the trick.

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