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Strange behaviour when copying images on Mac

  • 7 replies
  • 2 have this problem
  • Last reply by cor-el

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Long time listener, first time caller... :) [Seriously have been using and loving Firefox/Mozilla since 2004-2005, before that was Netscape Navigator, this is the first time I can recall having an issue that I can't find already written up and solved. Hence, this post.]

I've been having some odd issues with Firefox (85.0.2 64-bit) on my Intel Mac (Big Sur 11.2.1) for the past few months, and this morning decided to dig in deeper.

The backstory: When I’ve wanted to copy and image and paste it into Apple Messages, the images sometimes don’t send because Messages doesn’t support TIFF, WEBP, or PNG formats when sending to someone who doesn’t have an iMessage account (aka using standard MMS like to Android phones). So, I then have to convert the failed image to JPG, delete the failed message, and drag the saved JPG image file into Messages and can then resend it.

The issue: Today, I discovered that when I copy a JPG image from Firefox, and paste it into Apple messages, it seems that it doesn’t send because it appears to be either copied or pasted as a different format than the original image?

To reproduce:

  1. Go to a web site with a JPG image ( for example)
  2. Right-Click on the JPEG image ( comicorder038.jpg for example) and select “View Image Info”
  3. Right-Click on the JPEG image and select “Copy Image”
  4. Paste into Messages to send to someone who doesn’t have an iMessage account
  5. Hit enter to send
  6. Wait a few seconds for failure
  7. Click on failure Info
  8. Right-Click on image and select Open
  9. Preview shows the file as TIFF not JPG

To simplify:

  1. Go to a web site with a JPG image ( for example)
  2. Right-Click on the JPEG image ( comicorder038.jpg for example) and select “Copy Image”
  3. Open Preview and select “New from Clipboard”
  4. Select “Tools -> Show Inspector”
  5. Preview shows the file as PNG not JPG

What I’ve tried: Copy & paste of same image from Firefox - Safe Mode fails - So, doubt it is something in my Firefox config Copy & paste of same image from Safari works - So, doubt it is something MacOS related However, copy & paste of same image from Chrome fails too - So, maybe it is something MacOS related?

Any suggestions on what to try next?

Attached screenshots

All Replies (7)

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If you right-click on the image and then Command+click View Image to direct it to a new tab, Firefox should display the format on the tab itself. Sometimes due to the length of the file name, you may need to hover your mouse pointer over the tab to see the full message. Hopefully still JPEG?

Any difference if you copy from here? The reason I suggest trying this is that the image now is in a Firefox viewer, and no scripts from the original page can affect the copying.

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The Network Monitor shows JPG and PNG images.

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Thanks for your replies!

1 - When I try the "right-click on the image and then Command+click View Image to direct it to a new tab", it still comes out as not a jpeg when cut & paste, vs saving it as a jpeg file. So, the file saving & copy/paste of image are outputting different formats

2 - If you use the "Network Monitor" you do see that there are both PNG and JPEG images served. But they are for different comics. The only highlighted in your reply was The one I used in my example is

It's darn confusing...

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Holy _____! I just tried as an experiment...

  1. Go to the web page
  2. View the image
  3. Save the image to my machine (as a JPEG)
  4. Load the saved image via file:///Users/sck/Downloads/comicorder038.jpg
  5. Copy and Paste that from Firefox to Messages
  6. FAILED TO SEND Message.
  7. Open Failed Message in Preview, it's in TIFF format

That's crazy. So, I verified via "file" command that the comicorder038.jpg download is really a JPEG file and compared that to the IMG_2023.tiff from Preview

comicorder038.jpg: JPEG image data, Exif standard: [TIFF image data, big-endian, direntries=12, height=2710, bps=0, PhotometricIntepretation=RGB, orientation=upper-left, width=2514], baseline, precision 8, 650x674, components 3

IMG_2023.jpg: JPEG image data, JFIF standard 1.01, aspect ratio, density 72x72, segment length 16, Exif Standard: [TIFF image data, big-endian, direntries=4, PhotometricIntepretation=RGB, orientation=upper-left, resolutionunit=2], baseline, precision 8, 650x674, components 3

Now I'm even more confused.

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Firefox doesn't know about TIFF, so this is likely either a generic Mac issue or some setting in your OS that automatically converts an image to TIFF.

If I check the image in Firefox or save the image then I clearly get a JPG image from the link you posted above.

You can check the EXIF data via an online viewer.

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I just discovered this issue today and posted in Apple Support Community as well. I was sure it was a Firefox issue, but then when I couldn't duplicate it in Safari, I got really stumped. There's enough reasons Mac OS Messages fails when sending a message to Android users...didn't really need another one. I've been using those steps (right-click/copy --> paste into another app) for quite a while, but never noticed a problem before Big Sur. I guess when compared to all of the other issues I've run into with the newest Mac OS & iOS versions, this one is pretty minor. I'd still like to solve it though. Could there be some terminal command that forces all images added to the clipboard to retain their original formats, kind of like the 'most compatible' setting that forces Photos to use JPEG instead of HEIC?

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Could be related to this bug (fixed for 87):

  • Bug 1689992 - MacOS: can't copy SVG image from clipboard to "Pages" application

(please do not comment in bug reports