Having trouble with your Apple Mac? Here are five things you can try
When an application becomes unresponsive, you’ll need to quit it and restart it. Hold down the Control key, then while you're holding that down, click the app’s icon in the Dock and select Quit from the pop-up menu.
If that doesn’t work, then click the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your desktop, then select Force Quit from the drop-down menu. A small window will open, listing all the applications you have open. Click the one that has frozen, then click Force Quit.
Sometimes the app you want to force quit won’t be listed here – this can happen with apps that run in the background. If that happens, navigate to the Activity Monitor, which you’ll find in the Utilities folder. There you can locate the frozen application (it will usually say Not Responding next to it) – click it, then click the X button in the top-left corner of the window to force quit the app. If an app freezes or crashes frequently, there could be a compatibility problem. In that case, check the app developer’s website to see if there’s an update for the latest version of macOS.
Speed up a slow Mac
There are several reasons why a Mac might start to run more slowly, but it’s usually caused by apps hogging your memory, CPU and other system resources. To find out which ones, open the Activity Monitor, which you’ll find in the Utilities folder. Click the CPU tab, then click the %CPU column heading to list apps by how much processing power they’re using.
You can do the same with memory hogs by clicking the Memory tab, then clicking the Memory column heading. Any apps with excessively high usage could be slowing you down, so quit any apps that you're not using.
You need to quit them properly rather than just closing the program window, as some keep running in the background. Any apps with a dot under their Dock icon are still running – hold the Control key down, click the app’s Dock icon and select Quit to close it.
Programs that are set to run on startup can make your Mac slower to boot and run. Open System Preferences, then click Users & Groups. Click your user account on the left, then Login Items. Click on any apps that you don’t need to run on startup, then click the minus button beneath.
Solve disk problems
Some Mac issues – including frequent app crashes, files that won’t open, slow startup and more – can be caused by disk problems. Luckily, macOS has a built-in utility that can diagnose and fix disk problems automatically. If you’re having problems with your Mac, it’s a good idea to run this. Press Command + Space bar, type disk utility and press Enter to open the Disk Utility. Click your internal Macintosh HD disk on the left, then click the First Aid button at the top and select Run.
Want some more help with troubleshooting your Mac? Our friendly tech team can help you with one-to-one support on a range of tech issues. Find out more here.
Cure wi-fi woes
Problems connecting to the internet are usually caused by your router rather than by your Mac, but it’s worth switching the wi-fi off and on again to see if that helps.
Click the wi-fi icon in the top right of your desktop and select Turn Wi-Fi Off, then click it again and select Turn Wi-Fi On. If that doesn’t help, try restarting your router – give it a few minutes after powering it on again before testing whether this has worked. In some cases, you can improve slow or patchy wireless connections by physically relocating your router to somewhere more central and/or higher up in your home.
Sort out Macs that won’t start
If your Mac won’t start at all, first double-check that the power supply is connected. If you still can’t get it to start, then try a power cycle.
With a desktop Mac, unplug it from the power socket, leave it for 20 seconds, then plug it back in and restart it.
With a Macbook, you’ll need to hold down the power key for around 10 seconds until you hear an alert. Wait 20 seconds, then restart.
If you’re still having problems, try Recovery Mode. You can access this by restarting your Mac and holding down Command key + R. Continue holding the keys until you see the Apple logo or a spinning globe. Eventually you’ll see a window like the one below, offering a selection of recovery tools.
We recommend trying the Disk Utility first – this will allow you to run the First Aid utility on your system drive, as described above. If this doesn’t help, consider restoring your Mac using the Restore From Time Machine Backup option, or – as a very last resort – choosing the Reinstall macOS option. Only do this if you have backed up all your data first.