How To Fix Error Code 36 For Mac

Error Code 36 is somewhat of a rare error that some Mac users experience. It occurs when you are trying to copy a file which I will get into later, as well as show you how to fix it. So, if you are getting this error and have no idea what to do, or if you just want to learn for later, stay here because this article has everything you need to know about this error code.

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Understanding Error Code 36

I believe that before learning how to fix an error, you should really know exactly what is causing it to happen, when it occurs, and why. It will not only help you fix it but understanding it can help you broaden your knowledge with computer related activities. I think it’s also just interesting to learn about how these powerful machines work.

So this error code occurs whenever you ar trying to copy files on your Mac. It can occur on any Mac operating system, whether you have a laptop or desktop. Let’s say you want to copy them to a new location, or copying them to an email or any other instance. Whatever the case maybe, this error will completely stop the process and simply not allow you to perform the operation you want to. It’s not something that will happen a lot, as most people aren’t copying folders regularly, but it can still be frustrating if you need to copy something important and it’s just not working.

“Every company that made computers when we started the Mac, they’re all gone.” – Phil Schiller

What Causes It?

Unfortunately, it’s not very clear exactly what causes this error to happen. I’m sure that if you had an extensive background in computer science you would be able to figure it out as it is a complicated issue that, most simply put, has to do with the directory of the files and their proper location.

Luckily for you, unlike many error codes, there’s no need to diagnosis what is causing it, as the solution is the same regardless. This is nice as it’s one less thing you have to worry about.

How to Fix It

We got the basic information out of the way, so you should be familiar enough with this code and recognize what is happening when it pops-up. Now to the meat of the article, and exactly how you should go about tackling this annoying error. Above is a screen shot of what this error will read in full.

Note that this one is showing that the extension of the file type is DS_Store. While this is the most common type of file that happens with this error, it can happen to virtually any file. If you want to learn more about exactly what a DS_Store file is, I recommend reading this article from Appducate.

Anyways, with many of our articles, there are several possible solutions, which means it may take you a while just to figure out what exactly is causing the error. Then once you figure out exactly what is happening, it may take you a while to just go through all of the steps required. It can definitely be draining and frustrating as I’ve been there. You think and hope that every time you try a new step that the error will be corrected, but it keeps occurring.

Luckily, you shouldn’t be pulling out any hair or yelling when fixing Error Code 36. It’s a simple code to fix, as there is only one set of procedures so you don’t need to go through tons of steps just to get it working properly again. There also won’t be any need to pinpoint exactly what is causing the problem. Without further ado, here are the simple procedures for fixing this error.

The Steps

  1. The first thing that you need to do is open up the terminal on your Mac. if you’ve never heard of that or don’t know how to do it, fear not because it’s a really simple task to perform. We actually already have an article on it here that gives you step by step instructions.
  2. Once you have successfully opened the terminal, type dot_clean into the first line.
  3. Drag whatever folder is giving you issues to the terminal window.
  4. Once you drop the folder into the terminal, the path of the particular file will appear in the terminal windows at the end of the command. You can ignore this, as you probably won’t know what it means. It simply is just showing you the exact location of the folder. Just don’t be confused when you see a long line of coding language.
  5. All you need to do from here is click the Enter button on your keyboard and then close terminal.
  6. Test out to see if it corrected the issue by trying to copy the file to several locations on your Mac.
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This solution should work and you should be able to start copying the files immediately. It’s really amazing how such a simple command that you would have never known how to do can correct this error so effortlessly. If for whatever reason this error was not corrected by the steps I gave you, don’t hesitate to call Apple‘s customer support, as I’m sure they’d be glad to assist you.

Other Apple/Mac Error Codes

Apple, just like any other operating system or technology company, is prone to have some errors. Although many times we take these impressive pieces of technology for granted, they are still designed by humans and will never be perfect. Although Apple is a great company and they do a good job at preventing them, they still have a ton of error codes that may happen. It’s just unavoidable. There are even some specific error codes that affect nearly every operating system (read here for an example of one of those.)

My point of including this section is for those of you who stumbled upon this article looking for a different Apple or Mac error code, or if you have experienced one in the past. I’m obviously not going to list or explain them all, as there are literally hundreds if not thousands, but I wanted to include this link from the Apple support center, which is the most comprehensive list I could find for Apple error codes.

I would use their support page as a great reference for finding any error that you may encounter. You can search the forum for questions that others have asked and then see responses from Apple employees themselves. The best part is that even if you don’t see your question already asked, you can ask it yourself, and a support member should get back to you quickly.

The purpose of this blog is not only to teach you how to fix individual error codes but also to train you with the mindset of fixing these. You will notice that many of these codes have simple solutions that are very similar to other, so you definitely don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure these out.


This particular error code is not a super common one, as Mac computers are usually fairly good at preventing these, through various techniques such as updates and patching up errors in the code of the software. However, people still do experience it sometimes, which means it’s important to know how to fix.

This error will occur when you are trying to copy a folder to a new location. I know that you don’t ever hope for an error code, but if you had to hope for one, I think that this one may be it. It only disrupts a small portion of your computer’s functionality. Honestly, how often are you copying files throughout your computer? Another reason that makes it a simple error code to get is the fact that how easy the solution is. There’s only one procedure available, so you won’t be going through dozens of possible steps, only to find that none of them work.

Therefore, don’t get stressed or angry if you get this code. Within a couple minutes of work from following the procedures,  you should have it back to functioning normally in no time. Although very unlikely, remember that if this error is still happening even after going through the solution, your best bet will be to call Apple customer support. Likely, they will first run you through these solution steps, but you’ll be ahead of the game if you completed them already and it will make the phone call go much quicker.

I hope that from this article you learned how to fix error code 36 if you have a Mac, and if you have any other error codes related to your Mac or just in general, make sure to check back on our blog. In the top right corner of the page you will see a ‘search’ button, so look up any error code you experience, and we very well could have a detailed article on it and how to properly fix it.

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