You can usually rely on your Apple Mac to do what you expect it to, but there are times when problems can arise. Like just about every computer, it can experience freezing and this is often down to a problem with how the software is running. But as a result of that problem, your computer can stop responding and be rendered useless until the problem is corrected in the right way.
To help you deal with these instances without doing anything that might pose further risk of damage to your Mac, we’re going to talk about the steps you can take and how you can prevent further problems in the future. By understanding how to unfreeze a Mac safely, you will reduce the risk of losing precious files, so read on to find out more.
Force Quit The Frozen App
If the freezing of your Mac occurs when you’re trying to use an app, the first thing you should do is see if you can force quit it. The app might be the reason for the freeze and not the Mac in general as you might suspect. Therefore, if you can quit the app and fully close it, you might be able to fix the freeze without having to close down the whole Mac system.
You’ll know if one app is causing the problem because you’ll still be able to use the keyboard and mouse of your Mac without any problems. They usually wouldn’t be functioning correctly if the problem was with the entire computer itself. If the menus of the app are not responding and you’re seeing the dreaded spinning wheel, it’s probably the app that’s behind the freeze.
First of all, you need to switch to a different part of the screen away from the freezing app. You can then click on the Apple menu in the bar at the top of your screen and click the Force Quit option. Alternatively, you can find the app icon in the dock and right-click it, then choose either Quit or Force Quit from the popup menu that appears. You can also use the Cmd + Alt + Esc shortcut to bring up the Force Quit menu so you can choose which app you want to close.
Restarting The System
If force closing an app didn’t work, or if you believe that an app is not behind the freezing problem you’re experiencing, then the freezing issue is probably related to the operating system. In most situations, a simple restart of the Mac can clear any issues and get your machine back to normal.
First off, click on the Apple menu in the top bar once more and click Restart. If the menu isn’t responding at all or you’re not able to access it with your mouse, press Cmd + Ctrl + Eject. This will force the Mac to restart by itself.
If the Mac isn’t responding at all or your keyboard is also being unresponsive when you try to use it, you should press and hold down the Mac’s power button until the machine turns off. After that, you should wait a few seconds before pressing the power button to turn it on again.
When the Mac is back up and running again, you should try to find any files you were using and see if you can recover content from them before transferring it to a new file and deleting the old one. In most situations, if you were in the middle of working on a file that hadn’t been saved before the machine was restarted, the system would have created a recovered version on reboot, so you don’t need to worry about losing all your hard work.
Finding The Cause Of The Freeze
Finding out what caused the freeze in the first place can help you understand how to avoid future problems. That’s why it’s always worth investigating freezes and crashes when they happen.
Start by checking the hard drive space on the system because if it’s full, it might cause problems for the Mac, especially if it’s an older model. You can do this by right-clicking the Macintosh HD icon on your desktop and clicking Get Info from the popup menu. From the info screen that displays, you will be able to see the total capacity of your hard drive and the available space.
It is also worth checking that the macOS operating system is up-to-date, as well as all the apps that you have installed. When crashes and freezes become more frequent, you should update the software and disconnect all of the devices that you have plugged into the Mac. You can then start using them again gradually to see if any of them are causing the computer to freeze. You can do the same with software plugins to see if they’re behind the issue.
Safe Booting the Mac will launch it without extra processes, so you can try this as well if the problems are pervasive and you can’t find solutions to them. To do this, restart your Mac and press and hold the Shift key immediately after you hear the startup tone. Then, release the Shift key when the Apple logo appears and Safe Boot will appear on the Mac OSX startup screen.
An Apple Hardware Test might also be in order to help detect specific problems on the system. Here at Geeks On Wheels, we offer an Apple repair London service which can at both a range of hardware and software issues for your Mac. You can bring your device to our north London shop or we offer a collect and return service.
How To Prevent Future Mac Freezes
The information in this article should help you move in the right direction when it comes to preventing future freezing issues on your Mac. However, you might also want to look at anti-virus software for longer-term protection.
We all know that viruses are rare on Macs, but there are malware attacks that can hit your computer via certain means if you’re not careful. So, don’t dismiss this as an option going forward.
Not running lots of programs at the same time will also make you less likely to experience regular freezing issues with your Mac, so that’s something to consider as well. It will also prevent issues like slowdowns, which is never a bad thing.
Paying attention to freezes and finding common themes will help you to root out potential problems and prevent them from arising in the future. You should also empty the trash regularly because you don’t want issues lurking in there and causing problems for you elsewhere.
Related Article: Monthly Computer Maintenance Checklist
If In Doubt, Call An Expert
Now that you know how to unfreeze a Mac and what to do in any given situation, you’ll be able to follow these logical steps the next time your Mac freezes when you’re using it. But, if you are still unsure, then get an expert to take a look.
Here at Geeks On Wheels, we provide computer repair services throughout London, Brighton and Sussex – either on-site or remotely. Whether you are looking for an Apple repair service, hard drive recovery service or just general remote IT support, we can help.