Mommy Turned Geek Squad: Here’s What to Do With a Frozen Mac

Being a mom means you sometimes have to also be IT. Here is what to do next time you or your children have a frozen Mac.

Frozen Mac

Got a frozen Mac? 

Using your phone just to open up this article, and find out what’s wrong?

All we can say there’s many a cause for this problem, but let’s go over some of the most common issues and how they can be resolved.

Keep reading if you want to get a chance at using your Mac again today.


A Frozen App Might Be the Problem

The first step in unfreezing your Mac is knowing what’s causing the problem. However, this can often be very difficult to do. 

Chances are if you are still able to use your keyboard and mouse, the problem is most likely caused by a single app. You might see app menus not responding, icons not popping up, and your mouse cursor on the screen will be spinning like a rainbow wheel. 

There are a couple of ways for you to determine if the problem is caused by a single app. Usually, restarting and/or quitting the application at hand is the best way to unfreeze your frozen Mac. 

You can try one of the methods below to close the app:

1. Navigate yourself to another area of the Mac. Click on a different app, desktop, etc. Alternatively, you can click Command+Tab so that you switch to another application. By doing so, you should get control of the Mac if everything else is frozen.
2. Click on the Apple logo in the menu bar or the app name in the corner and select Force Quit. If the app is not responding you can still Force Quit.
3. Another method to check and close the app is to control+click or right-click the icon in the dock. If you see the option to Quit, the app is ok. If it is Force Quit, the app is having trouble. You can also hold the Option key, and the Quit will become Force Quit.
4. Try Command+Option+Esc to open up a Force Quit menu for all applications. 

In most cases, a single application is the source of the problem, as it is stuck in a loop. And you’ll know right away, as you will most likely get an alert or spinning wheel to notify you.


How to Reboot a Frozen Mac If an App Won’t Quit

If you are unable to Force Quit an app, or if the Mac is completely frozen—follow these steps to reboot it.

1. Click on the Apple logo in the top left screen, then click restart
2. If you cannot interact with the computer, press Command+Control+Eject on the keyboard; this will instruct the Mac to restart
3. If that doesn’t work, press and hold the Power button on the Mac until it switches off; wait a couple of seconds, and turn back on

If you restart and find the file is working when it opens—it might be corrupted. If that’s the case, try to recover what you can, and transfer the files into a new file. Then delete the older one.


How to Find out What Made the Mac Crash or Freeze

In order to investigate the cause of the crash, and if you are encountering frequent freezes, do this:

1. Make sure you have enough hard drive or SSD space on your Mac
2. Make sure your Mac is up to date, then go to System Preferences > Software Update; update if needed
3. Manually update any apps installed outside of the App Stores, then click the check for updates feature
4. If you are freezing often, update the software and disconnect all peripherals, then reattach one by one, and find out if they are causing the problem
5. Disable any plug-ins and find out if they are causing the problem
6. Hold Shift key when starting the Mac; this will launch your Mac without additional processing and will run a clean-up script 
7. Use the Repair Disk function in the Disk Utility to clean up problems with drives
8. Try reinstalling your macOS in recovery mode; you can learn how to do that here:
9. Run an Apple Hardware Test

If you still think the problem was an app, you can try out these checks to make sure it doesn’t occur again:

1. Start the application again.
2. If you are provided with an option to send a report to the developer or Apple, do so; it will send a crash report to Apple and will help the company manage the future development of the applications to make future systems more stable
3. Open your Activity Monitor and take a look at the memory consumption by application; for example, if Safari is open, you will see that a lot of RAM (memory) has access to the application—in which case, the application might be eating up all of your functioning power

If none of these methods work, contact a specialist or read some of our other articles.


A Frozen Mac, Finally Unfrozen

Now that you have a general understanding of what causes a frozen Mac, and what you can do about it—you are well on your way to returning your computer to normal functionality. 

As much as we would like issues to not come up when using technology, that’s the sacrifice we have to make to have such powerful devices in our possession. For all of the pleasure and functionality for years, a day of issues is bound to occur at one point. 

Being prepared is the first step to overcoming these obstacles, and returning the efficacy of your workflow.

If you’re interested in learning more about Macs and various fixes, check out some of our other blogs.

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