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Troubleshoot Your MacBook:  5 Common Mac Problems and How to Solve Them

By Technology Desk

Thursday, May 28, 2020.

Does your MacBook refuse to turn on? Is it running slow? These are both common MacBook Pro problems that you can fix. Keep reading to learn how.

Did you know that Apple's OS X now accounts for over 27% of the US desktop operating system market? That's quite a leap from its 19.7% share back in April 2019!

This shows that more and more Americans are going for Macs, including the classy MacBook Pro. After all, Macs aren't only long-lasting -- they're also feature-packed and user-friendly.

MacBook Pro problems do exist though, but for the most part, they're due to user activity. Many of these are activities that you, as the Mac user, can control and avoid. Many of them are also easy to fix, so long as you know the exact steps to take.

Ready to beat these common Mac problems and get your gear up to speed again? Then let’s dive right into it!

1. Spinning Beachball

When you see a spinning beachball on your MacBook Pro screen, that means your gear is loading. This is normal, so long as it doesn't take forever. If it does, then you're likely stuck with a frozen Mac that won't want to do anything except think.

One of the first steps on how to fix a frozen Mac with that forever spinning ball is to launch "Force Quit". You may be able to do this via the Apple options (the Apple icon on your MacBook Pro's upper left-hand corner). Try to move that beachball to the Apple logo and see if it changes back to a cursor.

If it does, click on the icon and hit "Force Quit". Select the unresponsive app (or highlight all the apps) then click on the “Force Quit” button again. Restart your Mac to clear its RAM  and your gear should be good to go once again.

If the cursor-turned-beachball doesn’t move, try hitting Command + Option + Escape. This is the shortcut key combo for launching Force Quit.

You can do the same steps if ever your Mac freezes while running an app.

2. Spinning Beachball of Death (SBOD)

This is when the spinning beachball occurs much too often or almost all the time. That means your Mac's hardware is getting too worked up to run software activities.

If you've been seeing this a lot these days, it's highly likely that you have too many apps open at the same time. It can also be a single app that's using a lot of RAM resources. Worse, it can be a type of malware that's running sneakily in the background.

Yes, Apple devices can still get infected with malicious software. In fact, malware detections in Mac have more than doubled from 2018 to 2019. So, if you haven't been keeping your software up-to-date, there's a chance that there's malware in your Mac.

One of the best ways on how to troubleshoot a Mac with an SBOD is to check the Activity Monitor. You can use the Spotlight Search (Command + Spacebar) to open this window. You can also find it in the Utilities folder which is under the Applications folder.

The Activity Monitor displays all the apps that your Mac is currently running. It also tells you how much resources each of these apps use.

Check the list for any unfamiliar apps, especially those that are consuming a lot of memory and CPU power. If you're unsure if these apps are essential, do a quick Google search on them. They may turn out to be potentially unwanted apps (PUAs), or worse, actual malware types.

Even if they're not PUAs or malware, you may still want to "Quit" or "Force Quit" those resource-guzzlers. This will free up RAM in your MacBook Pro, which in turn, will help speed up its performance.

3. Slow Start-Up

A new or well-maintained MacBook Pro (and other types of Macs) should take as little as 30 seconds or even less to boot. The more startup or login items you have, however, the longer the boot process will take. The same goes if your startup disk is also starting to reach its full capacity.

So, if your Mac takes up to a minute or more to start, chances are, you're asking it to launch too many startup items. The best way to resolve this is to disable all the apps that you don't really need right off the bat. That includes multiple browser tabs that you can opt to open after login.

To give you an idea, 10 loaded browser tabs can use anywhere from 725 MB to 3.1 GB of RAM. That still depends on the site content, but 725 MB on startup alone can be very taxing on your Mac.

That said, turn off your startup items so that your Mac will boot faster. You can do this by opening your Systems Preference (via Spotlight or Launchpad). Click on the "Users & Groups" option, select your username, and then choose the "Login Items" tab.

This should give you a detailed list of all items that run once you login to your device. Highlight each app that you want to stop launching at startup and hit the "-" button.

4. Kernel Panic

Kernel Panic is Mac's version of Windows' computers "Blue Screen of Death". In Macs, this problem is often characterized by continuous reboots. You'll also get a warning message demanding that "You need to restart your computer".

The term itself can make any Mac owner panic, but in most cases, the culprit is a resolvable software glitch. Not enough RAM or insufficient hard drive space is the most common reason. In fact, these two are also among the top causes of most speed-related Mac problems.

Restarting your MacBook Pro usually resolves this issue, as this frees up RAM. Once you successfully login after reboot, start deleting apps and files that you don’t use. Be sure to empty your Trash folder once you’re done.

5. Completely Frozen or Unresponsive Mac

This often occurs when apps fail completely, or if the hard disk encounters a serious issue. In this case, one of the best fixes is to start up via Mac Recovery mode. This way, you can access utilities like Time Machine, macOS Reinstall, and Disk Utility.

To get to the Recovery mode, turn on your device and then press and hold down Command + R right away. Let go of the keys only once you see the spinning beach ball or the Apple logo. Finally, enter the requested password on the following screen.

From here, you can choose to restore your gear to a previous version via Time Machine. You can also completely reinstall macOS or repair a glitchy disk using Disk Utility.

Get Those MacBook Pro Problems Solved Now

There you have it, some of the most common MacBook Pro problems and the easy steps to take to fix them. Restarting your device usually solves many of these issues, but if not, it may be time to free up space in your Mac. As a final tip, be sure to turn on your Mac's firewall so you can stay protected against malicious apps and files.

Ready for more techy tips and tricks to make the most of your electronics? Then feel free to read the other guides under this site's Lifestyle section!

Troubleshoot Your MacBook: 5 Common Mac Problems and How to Solve Them

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