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Mac Computers Suck - Problems with Mac Computers

Updated on May 9, 2011

Buying a Mac Computer

It's been a long time since I've used a Mac. We had one of the first generation Macintosh computers way back in the day, but since then, it's been PC all the way. When I started my job in 2008, the main computer was, and still is, a Mac. It had been a while since I'd used one, so I was excited to learn about Macs.

At one point I considered buying one because I thought it was what I wanted. Shortly after that thought, I decided a Mac at work was cool, but I still want my PC at home.

I found out that, I made the best choice. PC computers are more reliable. Granted, with a Mac you don't have to worry about internet viruses destroying your hard drive, but you do have to worry about a short lifespan and problems that you can't fix at home.

Now, if you do a lot of graphic design and web work, I'd go ahead and recommend getting the Mac computer, but if all you want is a machine to search the internet on, check your email, and perform basic operations, just stick with the PC. I hate to say it, but they're cheaper, last longer, and are overall more reliable.

In the time that I've been working with Macs, I've experienced about half of these problems, to include having to have a 4 to 5 year old Mac desktop replaced. I'm currently writing this on a MacBook Pro, that is also 'old' and considered glitchy by the Apple Fan that is the IT director at my job.

When doing research, and making the decision as to whether you want a new Mac or a PC, consider the following common problems with Mac computers.

While reading, please keep in mind that I only been working with Mac computers since 2008, but I am quite fluent with computers and technology. I'm not new to working with or fixing computers.

Common Problems with Mac Computers

  • Booting up and starting difficulties
  • Problems shutting down
  • Problems starting the printer

  • Difficulty with scanner
  • Mouse functioning trouble
  • Keyboard performance
  • Driver Installation problems
  • Clock can't keep time
  • CD's won't eject
  • Slow internet
  • Problems with Spotlight searches
  • Problems with email using webmail client
  • Doesn't recognize devices in USB ports
  • General problems with the iWorks programs
  • Overall short lifespan

How to Fix Problems with Mac Computers

Depending on what specific problems you are experiencing, the following troubleshooting tips for Mac may or may not help you.

  • Mouse problems

If you have the optical-style mouse that comes with most newer Mac computers, you'll find that they tend to work better as they don't have the rolling ball that likes to collect dust, but they must be used on a proper mouse pad, as they don't like reflective or glass surfaces. This should help if the mouse is jumping around a lot.

If the mouse isn't responding at all, you'll want to unplug it and plug it back in to check the connection. If it's a wireless mouse, check the batteries.

If the rolling ball at the top of the mouse isn't scrolling properly, try cleaning it out, as there may be dust and debris in it. If that doesn't work, you may have to replace it, as the top rolling ball is known to give out.

  • Stuck CDs and DVDs

If your computer won't give the disk back, try one of four things to retrieve it.

  1. Quit the program that is using the disk. Then press Eject on the keyboard.
  2. Open the Finder window and click the Eject icon on the sidebar or drag the disc icon on the desktop to the Trash.
  3. Log out of your account and then press Eject on the keyboard
  4. Restart the computer while holding down the mouse button.
  • Problems with the Clock

If the clock on your Mac computer is having trouble keeping the time and date, the internal battery may have some dust on it. Try replacing the battery, but if you are having trouble doing so, contact an Apple store or an authorized service provider to help you out.

  • Can't Empty Trash

If you're having trouble emptying your Trash, there may be many reasons the files won't erase; common issues may include 1) the file may be open somewhere else, 2) you may not have sufficient permission to delete, 2) the file is a locked-file.

First off, check to make sure that the files you're trying to erase are not open anywhere on the computer. If everything is closed, and you have permission to delete the files, but they are locked files, you want to choose the file, click Get Info, and make sure to deselect the Locked check box, so that you can unlock the file and delete it.

Otherwise, try junking the files by holding down the Option key when you try to Empty Trash.

  • Not Recognizing Devices Plugged into USB

You want to make sure that your firmware is up to date by checking the Software Update and the Apple Support Downloads page. If you see that you need to update your Mac, do that, but if the updates still don't fix the problem, try turning off the computer, unplug the power cable, disconnect all peripherals, and just let the computer sit for about 5 to 10 minutes before plugging everything back in and turning on the computer.

If you are still having problems getting your USB ports to register devices, try resetting the PRAM and NVRAM. Shut off the Mac; position your fingers over Command, Option, P, and R; turn the Mac on and immediately press the buttons on the keyboard before you see the gray screen; hold the buttons until the computer restarts again and you hear the start-up sound a second time. When the computer finishes the start-up, try the ports again.

If you are still having problems, reset the SMC or contact an Apple store or an authorized service provider to help you out.

  • Old Age

If your Mac notebook, laptop, or mini, is at least 2 years old, you'll start experiencing problems. Mac computers do not last the typical lifespan of a PC, so you'll start noticing more errors and complications the longer you have it. Most Macs do not last any longer than about 5 years, but you may be one of the lucky ones who can keep a Mac for 7 years before having to have it replaced.

When a Mac gets old, not only will you start to experience more software and firmware complications and errors, you may even experience total shutdown. Some Mac computer models will just shut down or restart on their own when the firmware starts to age. This can be quite a pain when you're in the middle of something and the computer just shuts off.

Not all Mac computers are the same, so you may or may not experience these problems. In general, there are many common problems with Macs, that you just have to troubleshoot, deal with and work around, or find a replacement the overall machine. In some cases, the concerns can be fixed by a professional, but you must consider what you use the computer for, how much it will cost, how old the computer is, and is it worth it or should you just buy a new one.

Do you prefer Mac or PC

See results

Buy a Cheap Mac

If you want a Mac really bad no matter the common problems and issues with the machines, consider checking out eBay and buying a cheap Mac instead of going all out and spending nearly $1000 or more on a brand new one.

Granted new is typically going to be better, which is where Amazon is the best place to find a new Mac computer, laptop, or Mac mini for the best price, but if you want lightly used, try searching eBay for the better deal.

Personally, when buying a computer, you generally want to get a new computer, but if you just want something for the internet, you may be able to find a good deal on a Mac on eBay.

Buy a New Mac Notebook, Destop, or Mini

Apple MacBook MC516LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION)
Apple MacBook MC516LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION)

2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor; NVIDIA Graphics; 250GB Hard Drive; 8x Double-layer SuperDrive; 2GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 10 hour Battery Life; Glass Multi-Touch Trackpad


Buy a Good PC

If you want to purchase something more reliable, or you just don't want to by a Mac computer, there are tons of other PC options.

The more popular options include:

  • Dell
  • Hewlett-Packard (HP)
  • Toshiba

Other options may include ASUS or Compaq computers.

Dell Computer

Dell Inspiron iM1012-687OBK 10.1-Inch Netbook (Obsidian Black) [Discontinued by Manufacturer]
Dell Inspiron iM1012-687OBK 10.1-Inch Netbook (Obsidian Black) [Discontinued by Manufacturer]

1.66GHz Intel N450 Atom Processor; 1GB SD RAM; 160GB Hard Drive (5400RPM); 802.11 a/b/g Wireless Connectivity; 0.1" Display; Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150; Windows 7 Starter; Integrated 1.3mp Webcam; 6-cell Lithium Ion Battery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Apple froze on this screen.Apple will not turn on. Black screen, lit button.Restart computer notice in several languages.Crazy error while trying to access Remote Desktop.Closeup of previous error.
Apple froze on this screen.
Apple froze on this screen.
Apple will not turn on. Black screen, lit button.
Apple will not turn on. Black screen, lit button.
Restart computer notice in several languages.
Restart computer notice in several languages.
Crazy error while trying to access Remote Desktop.
Crazy error while trying to access Remote Desktop.
Closeup of previous error.
Closeup of previous error.

What Problems Have Your Experienced with Your Mac?

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    • TimArends profile image

      Timothy Arends 

      2 years ago from Chicago Region

      I have been a Mac user for many years, but I am finally getting fed up with Macs. My latest problem: I bought some Bluetooth speakers and tested them out on my old iMac. After disconnecting the speakers, I found that I can no longer adjust the volume on the Mac's built-in speakers. I was advised to try removing the speakers from the Bluetooth section of system settings, but that did not work. The next advice is to restart and reset the system caches and if that doesn't work I must remove apps from my hard drive one at a time! Simply connecting some Bluetooth speaker should not cause this kind of problem! Unfortunately, I have found such problems are common with the Mac.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have a Mac I absolutely hate it. First of all you have to take classes to work it. 2nd supposedly they don't get virus's WTF ever. 3rd Supposed to be the best computer out there..

      Let me see mine freezes up all the freaking time. The screen became unattached from the computer I had to glue it back in to place. Every time I want to move my screen up or down the stupid computer has to think about it before letting me move the screen. When I want to type my email in before ever hitting the enter button it has to think when I am trying to type. When I had a regular PC the only problem I had was it just quit working...HATE MAC

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have owned and worked with both for years. Simple answer is this:

      Apple: A better more stable OS...I don't give a shit what you windows heads say. I own and use both daily. Hardware is great but if the OS goes to shit see how well it performs them. Apple is better for the person not wanting to fuck w/ it all the time and looking for dependability. Studios for audio production/ Graphics Design/ Musicians/ Photographers/ DJ's who can afford it will use macs 90+ percent of the time. Bottom line. Apples cost more but some extra money is worth less bullshit and wasted time to someone making money out of a computer.

      Now PC's If your a gamer/Geek/Tinkerer and don't mind fucking around w/ your machine then a PC is for you. I started building PC's 13 years ago and have loved and hated them equally. Stuck w/ 98SE/win 2000 pro till XP got to service pack 2 then converted. Made the stupid assumption than Microsoft had more cognitive ability than a bunch of monkeys and tried Vista. Went back to XP and ran it till Windows 7 Service pack 1. Windows 7 once you get it set right seems decent. If your a gamer then PC all the way. Parallels slows the shit out of your mac so don't get a mac thinking your getting the best of both worlds...that's a bunch of marketing bullshit. Get a PC to be a PC and or a Mac to be a Mac bottom line. For business use PC's shine as well due to their much lower cost.

      Mac's are UNIX based where Windows is not if you don't understand the difference google it and learn the advantages of UNIX.

      People defend what they are comfortable with or value and like to project it. Both have advantages/disadvantages. PC advantage-Price/Gaming

      MAC Advantage-build quality/ease of use/Everything else.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I had both PC and mac probook for a while. The only thing I can complain about mac is its processing speed which can not compete with PC after all it's just laptop bounds by its hardwares of course u have to unplugging before u could dump it it's common sense except for that mac beats PC every time

    • myi4u profile image


      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      I just bought a MacBook Air a couple of months ago and I am loving it. With the price that I have paid, I just hope that it will last, well, longer that what you have said. I hope you are wrong too! :)

      I have always been a PC user. I am quite fed up with having to format and reinstall Windows due to the fact that it runs slower than before. When Windows machine runs slower than before, it will just keep getting slower and slower.

    • jhop1374 profile image


      7 years ago from The Beach

      I believe your info is backwards please fix, seems hub is written in spite rather than facts.

    • Jason Payne profile image

      Jason Payne 

      7 years ago from Eugene, OR

      You said the following " but if all you want is a machine to search the internet on, check your email, and perform basic operations, just stick with the PC. I hate to say it, but they're cheaper, last longer, and are overall more reliable." But, you are obivously sidestepping the overwhelming evidence that suggest otherwise.

      Here is a quote from an aritcle I found "Macs were the most reliable -- and Apple's support the most dependable -- for the third year running, said Josh Kaplan, president of Rescuecom. "They've maintained that position without fail, which is first of all a testament to the reliability of their machines," said Kaplan. "And their support, with the Apple stores and the Genius Bars, is second to none."

      Apple's computers beat machines sold and supported by Asus, Lenovo, Toshiba and Hewlett-Packard to take first place, a spot Apple also grabbed in Rescuecom's 2007 and 2008 rankings. But its lead over second-place Asustek Computer, better known as Asus, was the smallest that Apple has enjoyed in the past three years; Apple edged Asus by posting a score just 20% higher than the Asian computer maker's."

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My 8 year old dual CPU mac tower- runs 24/7- great machine.

      10 year old iMac G3 my 6 year old still pounds on- he can't kill it. At his school there are still dozens of G3 iMacs in service. Our iMac G5 works great- almost 6 years old.

      If Win 7 is so great why have I had to do two complete re-installs so far. I've never had OSX crash unless there was a hardware failure, windows is simply not as stable. All the Dells at work crash regularly running Autocad. It isn't a question of IF they will crash, it's a question of WHEN they will.

    • MikeNV profile image


      8 years ago from Henderson, NV

      Hammers suck for driving screws and screwdrivers suck for pounding in nails. Computers... pick the one that runs the software you most like to use in the fastest and easiest way possible. I own both PC's and Macs. Depends on the application.

    • SteveoMc profile image


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      There is virtually no difference between macs and PC's they have exactly the same hardware, processor, hard drive, ram, intell chipsets, sound cards, graphics cards, everything, all the same. Both of them will run the other OS. Virtually no difference. It's like saying a Mercury is better than a Ford. Wake up people, they are pretty much the same.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i hate macs!! that's all i have to say and i do have one.

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 

      8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I use both, PC at work and MAC at home (huh opposite to you) and find them both reliable. Having worked with graphic design for 10+ years I needed a MAC at home and haven't had any problems.

      My kids were given MAC's through their schools (a govt initiative) and we had trouble with their CD drives but other than that all has been ok.

      Good informative hub, thanks.

    • save my system profile image

      save my system 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom - London

      With Mac I greatly face interfacing issue, Which are not with PC. Also if you face any serious problem with MAC, then it is simply annoying to find computer repair mechanic for MAC.

    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 

      8 years ago from SE MA

      Certainly there are PC's that are good quality. However, there are plenty of cheap, badly engineered systems. A $399 PC is not the same as a higher priced PC or Mac.

      The major flaw with PC's has been Windows. I'd say that Win 7 is as good as Mac OS X, but nothing prior came close and Win 7 requires much more horsepower behind it.

      Macs are definitely not just for graphics. That's very outdated.

      Nothing is perfect, but I advise people to buy Macs in many cases. Not always, but often.

      By the way, my credentials include over 30 years of doing computer support for thousands of business clients and certifications in Windows and Unix. I only mention that to make it clear that my opinion has substance behind it.

    • RetroBrothers profile image

      Martin Allan 

      8 years ago from Sunny Scotland

      MAC's are fine computers - but I like your hub. The quality of MAC's seems to have dropped over the last few years - they used to be more reliable than PC's due to the same hardware/software combo's. This is not the case anymore.

      Good hub.

    • elayne001 profile image


      8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      This debate has gone on as long as Macs have been around. I started with a Mac and didn't even try a PC until much later. I purchase a new Mac every three years and have handed down my old ones to my children. They all still work, so that says something good about them. I am a graphic designer, so for what I do, Macs are better. I am now literate on both PC and Mac, but still prefer my Macs. Both have problems from time to time, but I feel that Apple gives the best service - I don't even know who to call about my PC when it has problems. I'm sure you have your reasons for feeling the way you do and so do I. Each to his own.

    • despereaux profile image


      8 years ago from Madison, WI

      Well... finally someone tells it like it is. I couldn't agree more with your assessment of Macs. About 5 years ago I started a job at a major research university and had the option of choosing a Mac or PC. Sucked in by the "cool" factor I chose a MacBook and then a MacBook Pro (most of us in IT have multiple computers). Disappointing does not begin to describe my experience. The "Finder" couldn't find a thing and doesn't hold a candle to Explorer. Boot speed and speed in general were pathetic. Intuitive? Please! If all you do is browse the Internet, maybe, otherwise a huge pain. And the Help, again is not even in the same league as Windows. The DVD drives are cool, until ones gets stuck. I've taken the MacBook apart twice to remove one. Price to performance PCs smoke Macs every time. Pay twice as much for the same processor, memory and HD; silly! A final comment on the virus stuff. It is a huge mistake to think that a Mac is intrinsically safer than a Windows machine. Macs are always the first computers "owned" at hacker fests. So far, malicious hackers haven't targeted Macs, but if Mac market share continues to climb, watch out. I wish I could find the direct quote, but a well known security expert, to paraphrase, said that using Windows is like living in a bad neighborhood where your house has bars on the windows and a good security system. Mac is like living in the country were people don't even have locks on their doors. You're fine as long as the criminals don't decide to drive out to the country, but if they do, you're in serious trouble. By the way, been using a ThinkPad T400 for a couple of years with Vista and now Windows 7. Works great.

    • theindianblues profile image


      8 years ago from Some where on the Globe

      Thanks for the info. I am facing some of those issues.

    • jim10 profile image


      8 years ago from ma

      Sorry Whitney but, I am completely confused by this hub. I used to have PCs a long time ago and they would last 2 years tops. This was before even having to worry about viruses much. I got my PowerBook almost 8 years ago and it still runs great. I haven't upgraded anything but the operating system. And practically run it 24/7. At least for the past 5 years anyway. We use both Macs and PCs at work for heavy duty video compression and editing work and use mostly PCs for light tasks. I use my Powerbook for a lot more than just internet and it works flawlessly. Our PCs work fine at work but, they require a lot more upkeep to keep them going. I think PCs typically suffer because of horrible and vulnerable operating systems. I believe people with Linux have better luck. I will say that Dell Servers seem to run really well at a good price. But, they are set to do a task and then stay with it for months and years at a time. They don't get turned off and on and only run a few applications. The only issue I ever had with my mac was the cd rom drive stopped working within the first 2 years because my son put pennies in it. I took it to Apple and they replaced the drive no problem. We are actually planning to switch the office PCs to IMacs running Boot Camp with Windows 7. when my Laptop finally goes I plan to get an Imac. I'm sorry you had so much trouble with them.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      That's all very interesting as we have been considering changing to a Mac when our 3 year old HP PC kicks the bucket. We've never had a PC last longer than 4 years. My husband wants to throw it out the window on a regular basis because crashes a lot (think it doesn't like something installed). I have an old MacBook on loan from work (to become familiar with because will be working with Macs) and I have noticed it is so much faster opening things etc. I'm not so certain PCs are durable, but the good thing is they can have parts replaced - I think that is a big plus for a lot of workplaces. I'm currently using the PC right now because it has a bigger screen (I was told to try to use the MacBook for everything for a while, but a notebook is just not comfortable to view and type with). I've used PCs in many a workplace for different things and they crashed on a regular basis. Last time I used Macs was as a student and they didn't like being networked (causing them to crash). People I am going to work for have used Macs for years and have never had probs. So, I'm divided

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You get what you pay for. I always thought the more $ you spent on a computer the better the product you got regardless of it being a Mac or PC. The problems described happen to all computers at sometime or another. It is like buying a car; the computer is out of date as soon as you open the box.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      8 years ago from Northern, California

      I am currently working on an HP laptop daily. I also own two (and have had several) Mac laptops...and really high priced models. I am a professional photographer /digital artist while writing is my passion. Putting these together makes for a very fun job. However, my Mac computrs are both not operational while my HP PC is under my finger tips at this moment working hard and doing a pretty good job on the digital art side. Where I was a solid MAC advocate, I am now a PC advocate for many of the reasons you express in your hub. You just can't beat the durability of a PC over a delicate little MAC. Although, some of the graphic software does seem more suited for the MAC, The trade-off...not worth sticking it out with the MAC! Thanks for a great hub. Up and awesome.

    • David 470 profile image

      David 470 

      8 years ago from Pennsylvania, United States

      I never liked mac mainly due to the interface. I like the way the desktop on a pc interface is better. I also have used PCs more so I sort of prefer them over mac for some reason. It is true that mac does protect you from viruses better, but I still think pc is slightly a better option.

    • MrKnowledge profile image


      8 years ago from Tacoma!

      I've always heard of it being the other way around. I run some demanding programs and I'm using a new gateway PC, that is great. But it wasn't cheap. I have debated making the move to a mac

    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 

      8 years ago from South Carolina

      Maybe I don't use mine enough but it is about three years old and works great.

      I love it, but that is just me.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      It is fine and well written hub. I never had a Mac and therefore I can't comment.

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia

      The company that I work for has both PC and Mac, on average, the Mac's must be replaced every 5 years, whereas the PC's are well over that and still function without flaw. Below, there is a list of sites that I used for common problems, but keep in mind that some of the problems are those that I have had with the Macs that I work with. Some of the problems that I posted problems are also complications experienced by others I know, to include problems the IT manager at my work has had (keep in mind she's a HUGE Apple/Mac fan). I have posted the more common problems, which doesn't include many of the less common problems, such as more specific software issues, internet and email problems, etc.

      dahoglund, they are ok computers if you use them for what they're built for- graphics. They won't completely fall a pat on you, but their just not the same as a PC by any means.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I've never had a MAC. A computer engineer at work told me a MAC is fine if I have a lot of money I don't need.

    • hospitalera profile image


      8 years ago

      I really don't know where you got your information from.! I have both PC and MAC and I can tell you hands down that the MAC outperforms the PC every time, with similar specs in both obviously. It would be also good if you would put some background / source to claims as the "Common Problems with Mac Computers" you mentioned. They can't be very common as I never experienced them with a MAC but I did experience them with more than one PC. Also your claim that MACs have a shorter life span? Do you have any proof for that? SY


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