You usually have no problem waiting in line to get services. But when it comes to using your Macbook Pro, it may be another story.
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For me, I hated it when the applications I use became unresponsive, not to mention that when the entire system froze up. Although I was told that patience is a virtue, somehow I just don’t have it with my beloved MacBook.
How about you? Does your MacBook Pro sometimes freeze or hang up for no reason? Or the spinning beach ball often appears?
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If this has happened to you, be aware that your MacBook Pro may have some issues. But, there are always fixes out there.
I’ve grouped all MacBook freezing issues into four different scenarios (thanks to our reader Carol’s feedback). Find the one that applies to your situation and follow the guide to fix the issue.
Scenario 1: An app is frozen (you can move cursor)
Details: this kind of apps usually demand a lot of system resources to process. For example, Adobe Photoshop, iMovie, or sometimes the web browser you use Safari. When you click around, the app just hangs with the cursor spinning like a pinwheel. The application won’t respond to any commands.
Reasons: the app may be waiting for other hardware resources to become available, or the software may have a bug that drops itself into a calculation loop.
How to Fix:
- If you haven’t saved your work, wait for a few minutes. It may become responsive again (hopefully).
- Otherwise, simply force quit the app. To do so, go to the Apple logo on the top left corner, click on it and select the “Force Quit” option. Then highlight the unresponsive app, and click “Force Quit” to exit.
You can also press “Command + Option + Esc”, it does the same thing.
Warning: a force quit on a running Mac application may cause you to lose any content that hasn’t been saved. Be cautious before you take this action.
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Scenario 2: macOS totally freezes (you can’t move cursor)
Details: the whole system becomes completely unresponsive. You are unable to use the keyboard to type, the mouse cursor is unable to move as you want, the same screen seems just hang there for good. Sometimes you also hear the loud noise coming from the fan (if you are using an old MacBook with an HDD inside).
Reasons: It happens on rare occasions, but the issue could result from over-used system resources, MacBook Pro uptime too long, hard disk errors, etc.
How to Fix:
- You’ll have to do a hard reboot. Press the power button for 3-5 seconds to force a shut-down of the computer. Press it again to restart.
- Clean up your MacBook hard drive and fix potential disk errors — you can do this quickly using CleanMyMac.
Note: if this happens while you’re updating to latest macOS, the progress bar keeps hanging at 99% (or only one minute remaining), you’ll have to quit the update. A working solution is: first upgrade your MacBook to an ealier version, then update to the latest version.
Scenario 3: MacBook Pro keeps freezing randomly
Details: Your Mac just freezes without any signs and it happens every few hours or days. One second your MacBook is working perfectly fine, the other second everything just hangs up — the cursor won’t move. If you were watching a video, horizontal lines cut through the screen. It seems the only solution to make it work again is to hold the power button to reboot.
Reasons: your MacBook’s hardware has problems — for example, you just installed extra RAM improperly or the System Management Controller (SMC) has some issues.
How to Fix:
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1. Reset SMC and RVRAM. Learn how to do so from this MacWorld tutorial video.
2. If the random freezing still happens, take your MacBook Pro to an Apple Genius Bar or a local computer shop and have a geek run hardware diagnostics. Then fix the issues based on their suggestions.
Scenario 4: Mac cursor freezes while opening a specific app
Details: Your Mac cursor would freeze (for anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 mins) when you launch apps like Photos, Time Machine, Adobe Photoshop, etc.
Reasons: You’ve enlarged the Mac cursor.
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How to Fix: Adjust cursor size to normal.
- Click on the Apple logo on top left, select “System Preferences.”
- Then click “Accessibility” > “Display.”
- You’ll see a window (as shown below), navigate the cursor size bar and adjust it to normal size.
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Due to the complex nature of computer issues, sometimes it’s inevitable that you may encounter other scenarios not introduced here. I’d appreciate it if you can kindly share your stories here. Anyway, I hope this troubleshooting article has helped you unfreeze your Mac, and that the rotating beach ball won’t come back.
Any further questions, leave your comment below.