Tuesday, December 5, 2023

How to Stop Your Mac From Freezing

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It’s nothing more frustrating than using your Mac computer and it suddenly starts to slow down or freeze. This is especially true if you are in the middle of a project and need to restart your computer, causing you to lose all your progress. It may seem like it takes forever to complete a task.

Depending on what is causing your computer to freeze, we’ve listed a few solutions and included in-depth steps to help you get to the bottom of the problem.

Force to stop unresponsive programs

The first thing to test if your Mac isn’t responding is to check if an app has crashed, as sometimes this can also lock your Mac. If an application freezes and stops working, Ctrl + click its icon in the Dock, then hover the pointer over the Leave button. Hold on Option (labeled Alt on some Mac keyboards) until Leave becomes Force Quit; click this.

Alternatively, try pressing Select + Kmd + Esq open the Force Exit window. Select the app you want to close, then click Force Quit (or Relaunch if Finder has frozen), then click Force Quit on the confirmation dialog.

If your Mac is completely locked and the above steps do not work, press Ctrl + Opt + Cmd and the power button at the same time; this will restart your Mac.

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Fabian Irsara / Unsplash

Reset the System Management Controller

The System Management Controller (SMC) takes care of everything behind the scenes on your Mac, from battery management to keyboard backlighting. If your Mac continues to freeze, the SMC may need to be restarted.

What you do depends on whether your Mac has a T2 Security Chip. If you’re using a MacBook, that doesn’t mean you don’t have at least a 2016 or newer MacBook Pro), close it, then press Shift + Ctrl + Opt and the power button at the same time. Hold down all these keys for 10 seconds, then release. Now press the power button to turn on your Mac. If you’re using a Mac tablet without a T2 chip (such as an iMac), turn it off, unplug the power cord, and wait 15 seconds, reconnect it, and then turn on your Mac.

If your Mac has a T2 chip, the process is different. For both MacBooks and desktop Macs, turn off the device, then press and hold the power button for 10 seconds. Let go and wait a few seconds, then press it again to turn on the Mac.

If you’re using an older MacBook with a removable battery, you’ll need to follow the steps on the Apple website.

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Bill Roberson / Digital Trends


Your Mac’s PRAM and NVRAM are small sections of memory that store certain settings that your computer needs to access quickly. If your Mac freezes, there may be an error with the PRAM or NVRAM.

Restoring them could help, and the process is the same for both. First, turn off your Mac, then turn it on and immediately press Select + Kmd + P + R. Hold these keys for 20 seconds; your Mac may restart during this time, but hold them for 20 seconds.

If your Mac normally plays an exon when you turn it on, you can release the keys when it is playing. If your Mac has a T2 Security Chip, you can release them after the Apple logo appears and disappears a second time.

Note that if you have a firmware password set, you will need to disable it before you can reset the PRAM and NVRAM. Apple has instructions on how to disable the firmware password on its website.

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Start in safe mode

Charging your Mac in safe mode may fix problems associated with freezing or may help you first identify what is causing the problem. Safe mode checks the integrity of your boot disk and disables certain programs and operating processes.

To get started in safe mode, turn off your Mac, then turn it back on and immediately press and hold the Shift key. Release the Shift key when you see the login window. If you encrypted your boot drive with FileVault, you may need to log in twice – once to unlock the boot drive and a second time to log in to Finder.

Now try it restarting your Mac using the normal launch procedure. If you are able to use your Mac without it freezing, then safe mode may have solved the problem. If the frost persists when you use your Mac out of safe mode, you may have problems with logins (apps that load when you first log in), Wi-Fi, or an external device, as all of these are turned off or restricted. by safe mode.

Apple Support Page has more information on safe mode which can help.

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Run the Apple Diagnostic Test (or Apple Hardware Test on older Macs)

If freezing persists and you think it might be caused by a hardware problem, run the Apple Diagnostic Test. First, disconnect any external devices other than the keyboard, mouse, display, Ethernet connection (if you use one), and the power cord. Make sure your Mac is on a solid, flat surface and is well ventilated, then close it.

Turn on your Mac again, then immediately press and hold the D key. Keep holding it until a screen appears asking you to select your language. Choose your language, then wait while the diagnostic test is run. This should only take a few minutes.

If the test finds any problems, it will list them along with possible solutions. It also gives you reference codes for some detected issues, as well as ways to contact Apple so that it can fix the problem.

If your Mac was released before June 2013, you should use the Apple Hardware Test instead.

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Take your Mac to the Apple Store

If your Mac keeps freezing and you’ve tried every trick in the book, you may need to involve the pros. Simply put, qualified technicians have the training necessary to properly diagnose and treat Mac diseases that you may not have experience with.

Head to localize.apple.com and follow the on-screen instructions to find the nearest Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.

If you’d rather not go straight to Apple, find a third-party repair shop that has Macs repair experience. However, make sure the store is an Apple Authorized Service Provider, which means that Apple manufacturers approve both the authenticity of replacement parts and the expertise of their technicians.

Our article on the best keyboard shortcuts for Mac has even more Mac tips on offer.

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