How to Fix: Drag and Drop Not Working on Mac

Like always, you were going to copy one folder to another using drag and drop function, and suddenly it turns out that drag and drop is not working on your Mac.

I know it can be pretty frustrating, as we all use the drag and drop feature for our daily work, whether you want to drag a file to delete and move into the trash, or you want to move or copy files and folders. You can use the drag and drop method to store files in folders.

Many Mac users have gone through this issue once while using the drag and drop function. There are many reasons why the drag and drop feature is not working correctly. Don’t you worry, in this guide I will show you how to fix drag and drop not working on your Mac. So, if you are the one who is facing this problem right now, then this guide is for you. The process is pretty simple so stick with me till the end.

Drag and Drop not Working on Mac Why?

The issue can occur because of hardware or software-related problems. Yes, it might be because of the low battery of your mouse, which might lose its connection to work.Or some of the main reasons are if your software is out of date, any incorrect settings, or firmware.

Maybe the improper trackpad and mouse settings can also cause you this error of drag and drop. Now, let’s solve the problem of the drag and drop function. Shall we?

Fixed: Why drag and drop is not Working on Mac

You can easily fix the drag and drop not working issue with the help of some methods. So, to fix your problem you must try all of the tricks I am going to show you. So, without any further delay, let’s get it started.

1. Check your Bluetooth Mouse Battery:

If you are the person who uses an external Bluetooth mouse, then before using it you must make sure that the mouse batteries are properly charged or not. Maybe not completely charging your mouse can be also one of the reasons for drag and drop not working on your Mac. Check if the mouse you are using is actually functioning or not. If your mouse is at fault, then you must have to buy a new mouse.

2. Check your Mouse or Trackpad Connection:

If you are using a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad, make sure to check the connection between your trackpad and mouse with your Mac. You can try switching Bluetooth on and off to see if your drag and drop feature is working. To reconnect your Bluetooth devices again, go to the System Preferences > Bluetooth and reconnect it. If you are using the USB mouse then you can check whether the wire is perfectly connected or not.

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3. Try Restarting your Finder App:

The Finder is the most important component of the Mac system. It allows you to find and organize your documents, media, folders, and other files on your Mac. Sometimes Finder app can also overload with all the documents and files can be the reason you can’t use the drag and drop feature.

However, you can solve that by restarting your finder app. Here is how you can do it:

  1. Press Command + Option + Escape.
  2. In the Force Quit Applications list, look for Finder and select it.
  3. Click the Relaunch button.

4. Restart your Mac:

As you have already restarted your Finder and still the problem is the same, you can try restarting your Mac. Most of the time, just restarting your Mac may solve all the minor issues. Whether it’s an error, glitches, or you have improperly closed any app can be fixed by just restarting your Mac. However, make sure that all the work you have done on your Mac is saved for your safety purpose. And restart your Mac and see if your drag and drop, not working issue has gone yet.

5. Examine your Mouse or Trackpad Settings:

Kindly examine your Mac’s mouse or trackpad settings. Maybe the drag and drop function is not working because of some settings of your mouse or trackpad. Many Mac users have faced this problem of drag and drop not working after updating Mac. So, what you can do is check your mouse and trackpad settings and see if all the settings are perfect if not, then you can set it to its default and start all over again and check if the issue occurs because of the Mouse or Trackpad settings.

  1. Go to the Apple menu given on the top left side of your Mac screen.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Choose Mouse or Trackpad, depending on which you are using.
  4. Examine the settings to make sure they are as they should be.

6. Update macOS to the latest Version:

The most important thing to do is update your Mac to the latest version when this type of error occurs. If you are facing a drag and drop not working situation, you must check if your Mac device is up-to-date or not. If not, then install the latest version as soon as possible. Updating to the latest can also solve all the minor errors and fix all the bugs on your Mac. Here is how you can do it:

  1. Go to the Apple menu given on the top left side of your Mac screen.
  2. Choose System Preferences.
  3. In the System Preferences, click Software Update.
  4. Click Update Now, if available.
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7. Start up your Mac in Safe Mode:

Another thing you can try, start up your Mac in safe mode. Starting your Mac in safe mode allows you to check whether the issues you are experiencing are caused by any software or not. So, if the drag and drop problem is caused by any damaged software, it will be going to fix up by starting your Mac in a Safe mode. However, the process of turning your Mac into safe mode is different for Intel and Apple Silicon Macs. Let’s see both of the solutions for your Mac.

  • Macs with Apple Silicon:
  1. Power off your Mac.
  2. Press the power button and hold it until you see Startup options.
  3. Select the disk your Mac boots typically from.
  4. Hold down the Shift key, and then click Continue in Safe Mode.
  5. Release the Shift key.
  6. Login.
  • Intel Macs:
  1. Restart your Mac while holding down the Shift key.
  2. Release the Shift key when you see the login window.
  3. Log in. you might have to log in for a second time.
  4. You must see Safe boot in the top corner of the login window.

8. Reset your Plist Files:

At this moment, if you are still facing issues with drag and drop not working, then you have to reset the plist files on your Mac. Plist as property files allow to store macOS user’s settings. These plist files sometimes might get corrupted for one or another reason and might cause your Mac problems. So, we are going to delete those files to reset your Mac setting from new. Basically, we will be only going to delete plist files related to the mouse and trackpad.

Note that before resetting the plist file on your Mac, make sure to back up your Mac using Time Machine backup. You never know what happens after resetting plist files from your Mac. So, backing up would be great for your Mac’s safety.

  1. Firstly, start up your Finder app.
  2. Next, navigate to Library > Preferences.
  3. Once there, delete all these .plist files given below:

9. Disable Force Click and Haptic Feedback for Trackpad:

The force-click trackpad allows you to click by pressing on the trackpad and applying more pressure. While Haptic feedback allows the trackpad to recreate the sense of touch means, it will let you feel a click on the trackpad.

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However, many Mac users have complained that because of force click and haptic feedback functionality, the drag and drop feature didn’t work. If that’s the problem with you too, you can definitely disable force click and haptic feedback. Here is how:

  1. Go to the Apple menu, and select System Preferences.
  2. Choose Trackpad.
  3. Uncheck the setting for Force Click and haptic feedback.

10. Contact Apple Service Provider for a Repair:

After trying all of the above methods to fix the problem with drag and drop, are you still facing the problem with it? Then you must contact Apple service or visit your nearest Apple store with your MacBook and tell them your problem of drag and drop situation, and ask an employee to give suggestions.

How do I Set up the Drag and Drop function on a Mac?

As I have explained before, the drag and drop feature allows you to move or store any files from one place to another on your Mac. However, this function comes by default on your Mac as it is a general feature of the mouse and trackpad, so there is no need to enable it. If you are new to using Mac and don’t know about this feature then follow these steps to understand how to use the drag and drop function on your Mac:

  1. On your Mac, select an item you want to drag, such as an image or any file.
  2. Press and hold the trackpad or mouse while you drag the item to a new location.
  3. To copy the item, instead of moving it, press and hold the Option key while you drag.
  4. Release the trackpad or mouse to drop the item in the new location.


So this is now you can fix the drag and drop is not working on Mac, maybe you have accidentally changed the settings, or it is because of unstable Bluetooth connection. It is sure that the issue of drag and drop not working is because of hardware or software problems. If you are facing this error too, it is probably due to one of the above-given reasons that I have mentioned. Thankfully, fixing is as easy as effortlessly, you can do that with just a couple of steps within a few minutes. I have provided a simple way to fix it above in the article. So, try every way until you get your drag and drop feature working perfectly again.