Are you working on your Mac and suddenly it doesn’t seem to respond anymore, it just stays frozen? This tutorial is for you, since we explain how to unlock your Mac and identify the origin of its malfunction.
To get started, here are 5 steps to unfreeze your Mac. We examine each of them in more detail below.
- If your Mac froze while you were using an app, see if you can force quit the app. The problem may be specific to a single application rather than your Mac in general. Sometimes closing it can solve the problem.
- If you can no longer move your touchpad or use your keyboard, then it is not possible to force quit. In this case, you may need restart your mac.
- If the problem persists after restarting, then remember to unplug all peripherals connected to your Mac and restart it.
- Otherwise, you can start your mac in safe mode.
If you have successfully unlocked your Mac and want to know the cause, then read on.
We take a look at the steps to determine if your storage space is low, you have a memory problem, the version of the Mac operating system you’re running is causing the problem, or it’s caused by certain apps.
Force quit an app
When an application becomes unresponsive, the cursor changes to a rainbow wheel that keeps spinning. In order to get out of this situation, you need to force close the app and then reopen it.
To do this, apply one of these three techniques:
- Click on another location on your macOS (the Desktop, another window, etc.).
- Press the keys cmd and tabthis will allow you to switch to another application.
- From the Dock, click theapp icon by holding down the key cmdthen click Force Quit.
In case your Dock is blocked, simultaneously press the keys cmd → alt → escthen select the application to close.
If you want to force quit an application that only has a Quit option, press the Alt key when right-clicking on the application and Quit will change to Force Quit…
Where are the Ctrl + Alt + Del keys on Mac?
Those with a PC background may be familiar with the key combination: Ctrl + Alt + Del, used to quit applications on a PC, and wonder what its equivalent is on a Mac.
On a Mac, just press Cmd + Alt/Option + Esc to achieve the same effect.
This will bring up the same Force Quit menu as the apps mentioned above, it’s not just about closing an app.
In most cases, if a single app is causing the problem (usually because it’s stuck and consuming too much memory), you’ll easily know because you’ll get an alert (like below) letting you know that the application terminated unexpectedly.
How to identify the origin of the blocking of your
You need to investigate the cause of the blockage in order to prevent it from happening again. If you experience frequent freezes, check the following 9 points:
- Check that you have enough storage space, ideally about 20% of the size of your free hard drive to avoid slowdowns.
- Make sure macOS is up to date. Go to System Preferences > Software Update or, for older versions of macOS, open the Mac App Store and check for updates.
- Check for updates to your apps in the Mac App Store.
- Manually update apps installed outside the App Store. Most apps have a Check for Updates feature.
- After updating your software, unplug all your peripherals and plug them back in one at a time to see if one of them is causing the problem.
- Disable plugins. If you use apps with plug-ins, you should disable (or remove) them to find out if they are causing your problems.
- Use safe modewhich launches macOS without any additional processes and runs cleanup scripts.
- Use Disk Utility’s Repair Disk feature to fix problems with your hard drive.
- Run Apple Diagnostics.
Report the problem
If you think that an application is the cause of your blocking then we advise you to carry out some checks, in order to make sure that this problem does not reproduce.
- Restart the suspected application.
- If you see the option to send a report to Apple or the developer, do so. A crash report is sent to Apple each time an application crashes. Apple uses this data to manage the development of macOS and to provide a more stable operating system (and more stable applications) in the future.
- Open the Activity Monitor to keep an eye on the processes taking place while you are using the app. From the Finder, go to Applications → Utilities → Activity Monitor.