Clear entire print queue in OS X with a Terminal command

If you need to clear your entire print queue in Mac OS X for whatever reason, there is a simple terminal command you can type to do the job.


  1. Launch Terminal
  2. Type cancel -a –
  3. Success!

All print jobs in the print queue should now be gone!

I have only tested this in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. I assume it will work in 10.4 Tiger as well.

36 replies on “Clear entire print queue in OS X with a Terminal command”

Great! thanks a lot I had a couple of prints on hold and I couldn’t get rid of them.

Thanks again


What a simple sloution! I’ve tried everything on osx, but it seems like I’d rather take this terminal thing more seriously… Thank you.

Works like MAGIC. I spent a month living with Canon printer job stuck in the queve. My MacBook battery life slid down to about 1 hour per charge and the cooling fan was working all the time, making noise like I was next to a highway! 🙁 I was ready to take the machine to Apple for repair and only accidently thought of a printer queve and a possibility of a bad printer driver causing this. Your solution was “Chris-sent”. 😉 Thank you.

Thanks! My mac (mbp, snow leopard) took 30 seconds to go to sleep because of a stuck printer job. I’ve just typed “cancel -a-” in the terminal and the problem was solved. Nice!

Print Jobs still stuck after running cancel -a-. Also tried cancel -a, cancel -a -. No luck. Am I missing something?

[…] with just a little more searching … cancel -a -. It still prompts for someone who belongs to the lpadmin group, and it doesn’t resume stuck […]

Thanks! “cancel -a -” just took care of a job that wouldn’t stop requeuing itself on my Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6.6) system!

Hey! Great! Not really… for someone who is just being introduced to these machines. Yes, we still exist; people who don’t need computers for everything they do.
I have no idea what you mean by “Launch Terminal”. Please remember us folks that don’t know where anything is yet… no we’re not stupid; MOST professions operated without computers a very short time ago, including doctors and lawyers and other supposed positions of intelligence.

To E

Go to finder
go to Applications folder
Scroll down to utilities folder
enter it
go to terminal
double click
wait for prompt
Type cancel -a-
Job done!

To original poster.

Thank you very much. Had an image stuck on hold for a long time.
How in God’s name did you find this solution?

If I recall correctly, I did some searches online and somehow stumbled across the right keywords to pull up this solution. I don’t remember what site it was, but whoever it was, thank you!

My brother’s Macbook pro was taking almost a full minute to go to sleep. I had read that someone had found that jobs in the print queue were causing this. I ran this for him and it took care of the problem.

fantastic, works on snow leopard server to
had some jobs stuck in the print server
cancel -a – ….bam gone
thanks very much

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