How to Fix a Frozen Mac

George Herman
George Herman
IT Security Expert

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Despite the fact that Macs don’t freeze much often, it does happen sometimes and you should know how to fix it. Fortunately, we are here to help you out. Just read our how-to guide below and your problem will be solved.

Often, a frozen Mac is due to a frozen application, which you have to force-quit. If the application is frozen, but your Mac still responds, just follow the steps listed below:

  1. Force-quit a frozen program –
  • Click on your desktop or on any other open window to switch focus away from the frozen application.
  • Open the Apple Menu and click Force Quit.
  • Go to the frozen program and click Force Quit to close it.
  • Exit the open window.

2. Reboot your frozen Mac – In case your system is not responding, or you can’t open the Force Quit menus, you should force your Mac to reboot. These are the ways you can do this:

  • Click Command+Control+Eject simultaneously to force the Mac to reboot. The Eject key can be found in the upper-right corner of the keyboard. The newer MacBooks may not have an Eject key.
  • In case there is no Eject key and the keyboard command is not responding, click the Power button and hold it for about five seconds to force the Mac to turn off. The Power button is located in the upper-right corner of MacBook keyboards, or on the back side of iMacs and the other desktops.

3. Find out if the issue is with a program or your system – no matter what you do, be sure to determine where the issue come from. These are the steps you have to follow:

  • In case your Mac freezes only when running a particular program, most probably it is the program which causes the issue.
  • In case your Mac freezes randomly, or when performing everyday tasks, most probably there is a problem with the operating system.
  • In case your Mac freezes when trying to use a printer or a USB drive for instance, it is likely the device itself to cause the issue.

4. Check the free space on your Mac – in case your computer is running out of free space, it could be causing system instability. Make sure that there is at least 10 GB of free space on your boot drive (the drive that contains your operating system files). Otherwise, your Mac may not function properly. This is how to check the memory space:

  • Open the Apple menu and select About This Mac. Press Storage to check used and available space on your Mac. In case the free space is less than 10 GB, delete all files and programs that you won’t need.

5. Update your apps and operating system regularly – don’t forget to update all your apps regularly as in some cases, this may fix the issues you have:

  • Press the Apple Menu and select Software Update. Download and install all the available updates from the official App Store.
  • Update all the non-App Store apps individually. In case you’ve installed programs from outside of the app store, you should run each app’s update tool or install the latest version from its website.

6. Disconnect all peripheral devices – in some cases, your Mac may freeze due to a problem with other device, such as scanners, printers, and external hard drives. Make sure that you’ve unplugged them all before escalating the issue. Then follow the steps below:

  • Plug the devices back one by one and test each of them to see if your Mac freezes. In this way you can determine which device is causing problems.
  • In case the freeze is due to a particular device, check online to see if anyone has had the same issue or if the manufacturer has released any fixes for it.

7. Perform a Safe Boot – In case none of the operations listed above has helped you to fix your issue, the Safe Boot may help you out. It performs all the troubleshooting scripts and loads the essential files the OS X needs to run:

8. Repair the boot disk in Recovery Mode – In case there’s a problem with your boot disk, you can repair it using the Disk Utility in Recovery Mode:

Once you have completed all the above-mentioned operations, your Mac freezing issues should be solved successfully. In case the problem is yet not solved, try contacting Apple support for further assistance.

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