Nanotwinned metals have rare combinations of mechanical strength and ductility. Previous studies have shown that detwinning occurs in plastically deformed nanotwinned metals. Although molecular dynamics simulations have predicted that fine nanotwins can migrate at low stress, there is little in situ evidence to validate such predictions. Also it is unclear if detwinning occurs prior to or succeeding plastic yielding. Here, by using in situ nanoindentation in a transmission electron microscope, we show that a non-elastic detwinning process in nanotwinned Cu occurred at ultra-low indentation stress (0.1 GPa), well before the stress necessary for plastic yielding. Furthermore, the in situ nanoindentation technique allows us to differentiate dislocation-nucleation dominated microscopic yielding preceding macroscopic yielding manifested by dislocation-transmission through twin boundaries. This study thus provides further insights for understanding plasticity in nanotwinned metals at microscopic levels.