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Why Does My Mac Keep Freezing?

Updated on August 27, 2013
Why Does My Mac Keep Freezing?
Why Does My Mac Keep Freezing?

Does your Mac freeze randomly and for no apparent reason?

Does it freeze when you are using Safari or Firefox, on YouTube, whilst you are playing games, moving between folders or simply when you are browsing your iPhoto library?

Whilst this is not normal, there are some basic explanations and easy solutions to help.

Common Reasons Why A Mac Will Freeze

It is quite unusual for a Mac to slow down due to the way its operating system works so for a Mac to actually freeze there are a few things to consider:

  • Do you have far too many programs open and active?
  • Are you trying to do to many things at once?
  • Does your Mac have enough memory?

If you Mac is relatively new or you are operating on one or two active programs only then chances are the above two issues are not relevant to you.

If you are concerned about your memory resources, take a look at your capacity and delete any unnecessary files/photos/documents. Best bet is to put things onto an external hard drive.

If none of those reasons are obvious, then you may have issues with duplicate files and junk files. A clean up utility program such as MacKeeper is worthwhile using.

Mac Storage
Mac Storage
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Location of Force Quit On Your MacApplications Running On Your Mac
Location of Force Quit On Your Mac
Location of Force Quit On Your Mac
Applications Running On Your Mac
Applications Running On Your Mac

How Do I Find My Activity Monitor On My Mac?

To locate your activity monitor, go to your Applications folder, Utilities folder, and select Activity Monitor.

What Can I Do When My Mac Freezes

When your Mac freezes, and nothing seems like a viable option, here are some quick short term solutions that will help you out.

If you can move your cursor/mouse, go to the Apple Symbol>Force Quit

If you cannot move your cursor/mouse, press the following keys simultaneously

Command + Option + Escape

When you select Force Quit it will display a list of open applications and main programs that are running. Select the one(s) you want to close that you think may be causing you issues and press the "Force Quit" button.

Once you have control back, it is a good idea to restart your Mac.

Now, using this option has alleviated your problem, for now, but it has not answered the question as to what caused it in the first place.

As mentioned earlier, the slowdown and freeze activity on a Mac is not normal so let's try to understand the root cause. Time to open your activity monitor. Take a look at your system memory and make sure it is not almost full and if you notice a program running there that is taking up a lot of CPU%, you can quit it.

How Do I Get The MacintoshHD Icon On My Desktop?

Quick Tip: If you cannot see the MacintoshHD icon on your desktop, do to Finder>Preferences>General and select Hard Drives.

Once you have done your check, return to this location and uncheck the box to remove it again.

Common Reasons Why Your Mac Keeps Freezing

Software: Have you installed any software or applications recently? If so delete them one by one and see if that eliminates your issue.

Check The Free Space On Your MacintoshHD icon: Right click onto your MacintoshHD icon that is on your desktop and select "Get Info". In that window you will see Capacity and Available. Make sure that there is at least 15% free disk space.

If there isn't, time to clear old content and move things onto an external hard drive. If there is plenty of free space, your startup disk may need repairing.

Repair Startup Disk: Open Applications folder, Utilities folder and then select Disk Utility.

Select the MacintoshHD name on the left hand side, and then select the 'First Aid' tab. Click onto 'Verify Disk' and await response. If necessary, select 'Repair Disk'.

Remove External Drives: If you have any external drives or other devices physically connected to your Mac, disconnect them and then restart your computer.

Repair Permissions: Open Applications folder, Utilities folder and then select Disk Utility. Click onto Repair Permissions.

Empty Trash: Clear out unnecessary items on your desktop and delete your trash.

Known Issues With Mac And Chrome

Goggle Chrome has acknowledged that use of chrome as a preferred browser can cause a Macbook Air to crash.

Known Situations Where A Mac Freezes

If you are having problems consider making an appointment to see someone in an Apple Store. Take with you some details about the issues you are facing:

  • Does this occur when you are running lots of applications or not?
  • How does your Mac run when you are not running any applications?
  • At what point do you notice the freezing? At startup?


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    • Prince Faiery profile image

      Prince Faiery 22 months ago

      I was also facing same issue with my mac, I was not able to stop freezing, at last I just visited and make a call on their toll free. I got instant help for my mac only in a single call.

    • profile image

      sarah362 3 years ago

      I have also tried Mackeeper but I couldn't be able to get any results. After that I tried Stellar SpeedUp Mac software which had given me the amazing results. Try its free demo version.

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 3 years ago from Earth

      Very helpful post for Mac users. Thanks!

    • SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

      Sanjay Sharma 3 years ago from Mandi (HP) India

      Thanks for the valuable information. I have learnt a lot from the hub.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Thank you so much for the information you've provided. Now I think I know why my Mac freezes and is slow to start. I have Mackeeper, but I think I need to buy more programs because after I do a scan and the problems are listed, Mackeeper doesn't allow me to 'fix' the problem until I purchase the program to take care of it. - Audrey

    • profile image

      4 years ago

      Simply put nothing is wrong with my mac until use safari. The program designed for mac makes it mess up since day one hmm I never have a problem when using chrome

    • supportrixtech profile image

      supportrixtech 4 years ago from Philippines

      Just bought recently a second hand Mac for web development purposes and your hub really helped me a lot. Thanks! :)

    • Samith Jhon profile image

      Samith Jhon 4 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Thank you for the useful informations its really very good that people share their experiences.

    • cathie bridges profile image

      Hamza Arshad 4 years ago from Pakistan

      very interesting information by u indeed!!!!!!!