How To Unfreeze A Mac


Restart your Mac

When your Mac freezes, one of the simplest and most effective ways to resolve the issue is by restarting your computer. Restarting can help clear out any temporary glitches or software conflicts that may be causing the freezing problem. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Click on the Apple menu: In the top-left corner of your screen, click on the Apple logo.
  2. Choose Restart: A drop-down menu will appear. From the options, select Restart.
  3. Wait for the computer to reboot: Your Mac will shut down and then power back on. Allow it to complete the restart process.

If your Mac is completely unresponsive and you’re unable to access the Apple menu or shut it down properly, you can force a restart by pressing and holding the power button until the computer turns off. Then, press the power button again to power it back on.

Restarting your Mac not only helps in resolving freezing issues, but it also ensures that any pending software updates are installed and that your system starts fresh without any lingering issues that could cause further freezing or slow performance.

Keep in mind that if you experience frequent freezing problems, it’s important to investigate the underlying causes. If the freezing continues after restarting, try following the steps outlined in the subsequent sections to further troubleshoot the issue.

Force Quit an application

If a specific application is causing your Mac to freeze, you can try force quitting it to regain control of your computer. Here’s how you can force quit an application:

  1. Press Command + Option + Escape: This keyboard shortcut will open the Force Quit Applications window.
  2. Select the problematic application: In the Force Quit Applications window, locate the application that is not responding or causing the freezing issue.
  3. Click Force Quit: Click on the “Force Quit” button to forcefully close the application.

After force quitting the problematic application, your Mac should regain its responsiveness. However, if the freezing persists or if you’re unable to force quit the application using the above method, you can try using the Activity Monitor:

  1. Open Activity Monitor: Open the Finder, go to Applications > Utilities, and then double-click on Activity Monitor.
  2. Locate the troublesome application: In the Activity Monitor window, find the application that is causing the freezing.
  3. Select the application: Click on the application and then click on the “X” button located at the top-left corner of the Activity Monitor window. Confirm the force quit if prompted.

Force quitting an application can help to resolve freezing issues that are specific to that particular application. However, if the freezing problem persists or if multiple applications are causing your Mac to freeze, it’s important to explore other troubleshooting steps to address the underlying cause.

Check for updates

Keeping your Mac and its software up to date is vital for the smooth functioning of your computer and can help resolve freezing issues. Here’s how you can check for updates:

  1. Click on the Apple menu: In the top-left corner of your screen, click on the Apple logo.
  2. Choose System Preferences: From the drop-down menu, select System Preferences.
  3. Select Software Update: In the System Preferences window, click on the Software Update icon.
  4. Check for updates: Your Mac will automatically check for any available updates. If updates are found, click on the “Update Now” button to initiate the installation process.

By regularly updating your Mac’s operating system and applications, you can ensure that any known bugs or issues are fixed, and compatibility is improved. This can potentially address freezing problems caused by software conflicts or outdated components.

In addition to checking for software updates, it’s also a good practice to keep your apps from the App Store up to date. To update apps from the App Store:

  1. Open the App Store: Click on the Launchpad icon in the Dock, then look for the App Store icon and click on it.
  2. Go to the Updates tab: In the App Store window, click on the Updates tab at the top of the window.
  3. Update apps: If there are any available updates for your installed apps, you will see an “Update” button next to them. Click on the Update button to update the respective apps.

Checking for updates and keeping your Mac and its applications up to date is an important step in troubleshooting freezing issues. It ensures that you have the latest bug fixes, security patches, and performance improvements, which can help prevent or resolve freezing problems.

Check for sufficient storage space

Running out of storage space on your Mac can contribute to freezing issues. When the available storage becomes limited, it can impact the performance of your computer, leading to freezing and slow responsiveness. Here’s how you can check for sufficient storage space:

  1. Click on the Apple menu: In the top-left corner of your screen, click on the Apple logo.
  2. Choose About This Mac: From the drop-down menu, select About This Mac.
  3. Go to the Storage tab: In the About This Mac window, click on the Storage tab to view information about your Mac’s storage.

You will see a visual representation of your available storage, divided into categories such as Applications, Documents, and Others. If the available space is running low, consider the following actions:

  • Remove unnecessary files: Review and delete any files or applications that you no longer need. This can include old documents, videos, and applications that are taking up significant storage space.
  • Empty your Trash: Make sure to empty your Trash as deleted files still occupy space until the Trash is emptied.
  • Transfer files to an external storage device: Move larger files, such as media files or large documents, to an external hard drive or cloud storage to free up space on your Mac.

By freeing up storage space on your Mac, you can improve its performance and reduce the chances of freezing. Maintaining a sufficient amount of free storage also allows your operating system to run smoothly and ensures that there is enough space for virtual memory and temporary files.

It’s important to regularly monitor your storage space and consider upgrading to a higher capacity storage option if you consistently run out of space. This will prevent freezing issues caused by insufficient storage space in the long run.


Resetting the Non-Volatile Random-Access Memory (NVRAM) on your Mac can help resolve freezing issues that are related to certain hardware settings or preferences. NVRAM stores various settings, such as screen resolution, sound volume, and startup disk selection. Here’s how you can reset NVRAM:

  1. Shut down your Mac: Click on the Apple menu and select Shut Down.
  2. Press the power button: Turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold the Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + P + R keys simultaneously.
  3. Hold the keys for about 20 seconds: Keep holding the keys until your Mac restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
  4. Release the keys: Let go of the keys and allow your Mac to boot up normally.

After resetting NVRAM, your Mac will revert to default hardware settings. This can help resolve freezing issues caused by conflicting or corrupted settings. It’s important to note that resetting NVRAM will not delete any of your files or applications.

Resetting NVRAM is a safe troubleshooting step that you can take when experiencing freezing issues. However, if the freezing problem persists, it’s recommended to explore additional troubleshooting methods to identify and address the underlying cause.

Reset SMC

Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) on your Mac can help resolve freezing issues related to power management, battery, and other hardware-related problems. The SMC controls various aspects of your Mac’s hardware, including power distribution, temperature management, and more. Here’s how you can reset the SMC:

  1. Shut down your Mac: Click on the Apple menu and select Shut Down.
  2. Disconnect the power adapter: If your Mac is connected to a power source, unplug the power adapter from the Mac and the wall outlet.
  3. Wait for 15-20 seconds: Allow a few seconds to pass before proceeding to the next step.
  4. Connect the power adapter back in: Reconnect the power adapter to your Mac and plug it into a power source.
  5. Turn on your Mac: Press the power button to turn on your Mac as you normally would.

After resetting the SMC, your Mac’s hardware settings will be restored to their default configurations. This can resolve freezing issues caused by power management or hardware-related problems.

Please note that the steps for resetting the SMC may vary depending on your Mac model. If you’re unsure about the specific process for your Mac, refer to Apple’s official documentation or contact Apple Support for guidance.

Resetting the SMC is a troubleshooting step that can help resolve freezing issues. However, if the freezing problem persists, it’s important to explore additional troubleshooting methods or seek assistance from Apple Support to pinpoint and address the underlying cause.

Run Disk Utility

Running Disk Utility can help identify and fix any disk errors or inconsistencies that may be contributing to freezing issues on your Mac. Disk Utility is a built-in utility that allows you to manage and repair your Mac’s disk and file systems. Here’s how you can use Disk Utility:

  1. Open Disk Utility: Click on the Launchpad icon in the Dock, then open the Utilities folder and select Disk Utility.
  2. Select your Mac’s startup disk: In the Disk Utility window, you’ll see a list of available disks and volumes. Choose your Mac’s startup disk from the list.
  3. Click on the First Aid tab: Once you’ve selected the appropriate disk, click on the First Aid tab at the top of the Disk Utility window.
  4. Click Run: Click on the Run button to initiate the disk verification and repair process. Disk Utility will check for any errors or issues and attempt to fix them if possible.
  5. Wait for the process to complete: Depending on the size of your disk and the number of errors found, the process may take some time. Allow Disk Utility to finish its tasks.

If Disk Utility detects and repairs any errors, it can help resolve freezing issues caused by corrupted file systems or disk-related problems. However, if Disk Utility is unable to fix the issues or if the freezing problem persists, it may be necessary to consider other troubleshooting steps or seek professional assistance.

Regularly using Disk Utility to check and repair disk errors is a good maintenance practice that can help optimize your Mac’s performance and prevent freezing problems in the long run. It’s recommended to run Disk Utility periodically or whenever you encounter issues with your Mac’s disk or file systems.

Disconnect external devices

External devices connected to your Mac, such as printers, scanners, USB drives, or even certain peripherals, can sometimes cause freezing issues. Incompatibility, driver conflicts, or hardware malfunctions can disrupt the normal functioning of your Mac, leading to freezing problems. Disconnecting these external devices can help troubleshoot the issue. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Disconnect all external devices: Start by disconnecting all external devices connected to your Mac, including USB drives, printers, scanners, external displays, or any other peripherals.
  2. Monitor for improvement: After disconnecting the devices, observe whether the freezing issues still persist. If the freezing problem goes away, it indicates that one or more of the disconnected devices may have been causing the issue.
  3. Reconnect devices one by one: To identify the problematic device, reconnect the devices one at a time, allowing some time between each connection. Monitor your Mac for freezing issues after each reconnection. If the freezing problem reoccurs after connecting a specific device, it’s likely that this device is causing the issue.
  4. Update device drivers or firmware: If you have identified a specific device causing the freezing problem, visit the manufacturer’s website to check for updated drivers or firmware. Install any available updates to ensure compatibility with your Mac’s operating system.
  5. Seek professional assistance: If the freezing problem persists even after disconnecting and reconnecting external devices and updating their drivers, it’s advisable to consult with Apple Support or the device manufacturer for further guidance.

By disconnecting external devices, you can identify if any of them are causing conflicts and contributing to the freezing issues on your Mac. It’s important to isolate the problematic device and address any compatibility or driver-related issues to restore normal operation and prevent further freezing problems.

Remember to only reconnect necessary external devices and avoid connecting devices that have been identified as problematic until a solution is found. This will help maintain a stable and reliable system performance.

Clear cache files

Cache files are temporary data stored on your Mac that help speed up access to frequently used information. However, over time, these cache files can accumulate and become corrupted, which may lead to freezing issues and other performance problems. Clearing cache files can help resolve these issues and improve the overall performance of your Mac. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Close all applications: Make sure to close any open applications on your Mac.
  2. Open Finder: Click on the Finder icon in the Dock.
  3. Go to the “Go” menu: In the menu bar at the top of the screen, click on the “Go” menu.
  4. Press and hold the Option key: While in the “Go” menu, press and hold the Option key on your keyboard. This will reveal the Library option.
  5. Click on Library: With the Option key held down, click on Library to access the Library folder.
  6. Locate and open the Caches folder: In the Library folder, find the Caches folder and open it.
  7. Select and delete cache files: Within the Caches folder, you’ll find various folders related to applications and system processes. Select the folders associated with applications that you suspect may be causing freezing issues or select the entire contents of the Caches folder. Move the selected files to Trash.
  8. Empty the Trash: Empty the Trash to permanently delete the cache files from your Mac.

By clearing cache files, you can remove outdated or corrupted data that could be causing freezing issues. After clearing the cache, your Mac may temporarily experience slower performance as it rebuilds cache files. However, this should normalize once the cache is regenerated.

Keep in mind that cache files are automatically recreated as you use your Mac and its applications. Clearing the cache is a safe and effective way to resolve freezing issues caused by cached data, but it may not eliminate all possible causes. If the freezing problem persists, it’s recommended to explore additional troubleshooting steps to identify and address the underlying cause.

Boot into Safe Mode

Booting your Mac into Safe Mode can help diagnose and troubleshoot freezing issues caused by problematic software or extensions. Safe Mode starts your Mac with minimal system configurations, disabling unnecessary software and only loading essential components. Here’s how you can boot into Safe Mode:

  1. Shut down your Mac: Click on the Apple menu and select Shut Down.
  2. Press the power button to turn on your Mac: Immediately press and hold the Shift key as soon as you hear the startup chime.
  3. Release the Shift key: Release the Shift key when you see the login window. You will notice a “Safe Boot” label at the top-right corner of the login screen, indicating that your Mac is in Safe Mode.
  4. Log in to your account: Enter your username and password to log in to your account as you normally would.

In Safe Mode, your Mac will only load necessary system extensions and fonts, which can help identify and isolate software-related issues. Test your Mac’s performance and observe if the freezing problem persists while in Safe Mode.

If the freezing problem does not occur in Safe Mode, it suggests that a third-party software or extension may be causing the issue. You can then try the following steps:

  • Remove recently installed applications: Uninstall any applications that you recently installed before the freezing issue started occurring. Restart your Mac and check if the freezing problem is resolved.
  • Disable startup items: Use the Users & Groups or Accounts preferences to disable any automatic startup items. Restart your Mac and see if the freezing problem is eliminated.
  • Remove problematic extensions: If you suspect a specific extension is causing the freezing issue, remove it from the appropriate location (such as the Extensions folder) and restart your Mac.

If the freezing problem persists even in Safe Mode, it indicates that the issue may be related to the macOS system itself or hardware problems. In such cases, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance or contact Apple Support for further guidance.

Reinstall macOS

If you’ve tried various troubleshooting steps and are still experiencing freezing issues on your Mac, reinstalling macOS can be a last resort solution. This involves reinstalling or upgrading to the latest version of macOS, which can help resolve system-related problems that may be causing the freezing. Before proceeding, make sure to back up your important files. Here’s how you can reinstall macOS:

  1. Create a backup of your important data: Use Time Machine or another reliable backup method to ensure that your important files are safely backed up.
  2. Restart your Mac in Recovery Mode: Press and hold Command (⌘) + R keys while your Mac is restarting. Release the keys when you see the Apple logo or a spinning globe.
  3. Access Disk Utility: In the macOS Utilities window, select Disk Utility and click Continue.
  4. Erase your startup disk (optional): If you want to start fresh, erase your startup disk using Disk Utility. This will delete all data on the disk, so make sure you have a backup.
  5. Reinstall macOS: Once your startup disk is ready, go back to the macOS Utilities window and choose Reinstall macOS or Install macOS. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the reinstallation process.
  6. Restore your files: After the reinstallation is complete, use the Migration Assistant or Time Machine to restore your files from the backup you created earlier.

Reinstalling macOS can help resolve freezing issues that are caused by corrupt system files or a problematic system configuration. It essentially provides a fresh installation of the operating system, which can eliminate software-related problems that may be impacting the performance of your Mac.

However, it’s important to note that reinstalling macOS should be considered as a last resort, as it can be time-consuming and may require reinstalling and reconfiguring your applications and settings. If the freezing problem persists even after reinstalling macOS, it’s recommended to contact Apple Support or seek professional assistance for further troubleshooting.

Contact Apple Support

If you’ve tried all the previous troubleshooting steps and are still experiencing freezing issues on your Mac, it may be time to seek assistance from Apple Support. Apple Support can provide expert guidance and assistance in diagnosing and resolving complex issues that may be causing the freezing problem. Here’s how you can contact Apple Support:

  1. Visit the Apple Support website: Go to the official Apple Support website at
  2. Select your Mac: On the support homepage, select the Mac category and provide your specific Mac model and other details if prompted.
  3. Choose the type of support needed: Select the type of assistance you require, such as technical support, repairs, or warranty information.
  4. Choose contact options: Apple offers various contact options, including phone support, live chat, or scheduling a callback from an Apple Support representative.
  5. Explain the freezing issue: Provide a detailed description of the freezing problem you’re experiencing, including any troubleshooting steps you’ve already taken. This will help the Apple Support representative assess the situation more accurately.
  6. Follow the instructions given: Once you’ve reached out to Apple Support, follow the instructions provided by the representative to troubleshoot the issue or arrange for further assistance, such as scheduling a repair or visiting an Apple Store.

Contacting Apple Support allows you to leverage the expertise of Apple’s technicians who are trained to diagnose and resolve various Mac-related issues. They can provide personalized advice and solutions specific to your situation and ensure that all potential causes of the freezing problem are thoroughly addressed.

Remember to provide any relevant documentation, such as warranty information or proof of purchase, if necessary. Apple Support is dedicated to helping customers with their Mac-related concerns and will work with you to find a resolution to the freezing problem you’re facing.