Fix a Mac: Solve Some of the Most Common Mac Problems
Is your Mac overheating? Not turning on? Troubleshooting your Mac can help get rid of the most common issues and save you a trip to a service center.
This quick guide is going to help you diagnose the problem and hopefully eliminate it.
Let’s dive in.
1. Your Mac doesn’t recognize an external hard drive
Usually, Mac treats external hard drives just like any computer would. You connect it, and it shows up under Finder.
But sometimes, it just won’t work. If there is a problem with the hard drive not showing up mac will not perform optimally. To fix the issue, try the following:
- Confirm the device is plugged in properly
- Look for faulty cabling
- Check for damaged USB port
- Reset NVRAM
- Reboot the computer
- Reformat the drive
Right off the bat, the data in the hard drive may be corrupt, which is why your Mac won’t recognize it.
Other possible reasons include:
- The hard drive is not plugged in properly
- The cable may be faulty
- The port may be damaged
- The drive is not formatted for Mac
2. Your Mac won’t turn on
The most obvious reason for this is the battery has died, and it’s not plugged in properly. Make sure the cable is charging, and you don’t see a dead battery symbol on the screen.
If that doesn’t work, try a different power outlet or a different charger. For all you know, your socket or cable may be faulty.
Another common reason why it looks like your Mac won’t turn on is the brightness setting. You might have turned down the brightness all the way, so you see a pitch-black screen even when it’s on. Make sure the brightness is all the way up to rule that out.
3. Your Mac greets you with a question mark
Upon starting your Mac, you may see a question mark in the middle of the screen. This means that your Mac’s disk has likely failed.
To make sure you rule out some other possible causes, put your Mac into Recovery Mode and choose the correct startup disk – Macintosh HD.
If you cannot see the startup disk or can’t select it, you may need to repair it. Go to Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Utility
4. Your Mac is running slowly
Nothing is more annoying than having to deal with a slow Mac. But before you download an app to speed up your Mac, try these steps:
- Open Activity Monitor (Applications -> Utilities -> Activity Monitor).
- Click on Memory to see what is taking up most of the processing power.
- If it’s green, it’s all good. Amber or red indicates a problem.
- Organize the list by memory usage, and you will be able to see which app or process is causing your Mac to slow down and quit it.
Pro Tip: Ignore processes that have ‘root’ listed in the user column.
5. Your Bluetooth isn’t working
If you see a ‘Bluetooth Not Available’ error, here’s how to troubleshoot it:
- Restart your Mac
- Turn the Bluetooth on and off
- Try connecting your device again
- Turn your Bluetooth device on and off
- Move away from any other Bluetooth devices that may interfere
In most cases, this should take care of your issue.
6. Your Mac is frozen
If an app becomes unresponsive or your Mac freezes, you can Force Quit the app by right-clicking on the icon in the Dock and choosing ‘Force Quit.’
You can Force Quit with this shortcut: Command + Alt + Escape.
This can happen if you run apps that are not entirely designed for Mac. For instance, if you wanted to test Android apps on your MacBook, you would need an emulator specially designed for Mac instead of a generic emulator.
Make sure that the app that is causing issues has been updated to work with the latest macOS version.
If that doesn’t work, you can force a reboot by pressing down the power button. Note that doing this might cause you to lose some data.
7. Your fans are too loud
If it sounds like your Mac is about to take off into outer space, your fans are extremely loud. Either there is an issue that is causing your Mac to overheat, or you have a faulty fan.
First, turn off all the apps that are causing your Mac to overheat. Then, place your Mac on a stand with external fans that will cool it down quickly. Let it cool down for a while before you try using it.
If the problem persists, it’s likely you have a faulty fan. This would need to be replaced.
8. Your Mac won’t shut down
Sometimes you just have to be patient when your Mac is shutting down because some apps may be still closing in the background.
However, if that’s not the case, it could be apps that are preventing you from shutting down. Check the Dock to see if an app icon is bouncing. This indicates that a task needs to be completed.
You can Force Quit this app and try shutting down now.
If that doesn’t work, force reboot by pressing down the power button.
9. Your WiFi is slow or won’t connect
WiFi is a basic necessity, so a slow WiFi or one that won’t connect is understandably frustrating.
If your WiFi keeps dropping or disconnecting at random, first turn on and off the WiFi on your Mac.
Next, turn and off your router. Check the connectivity on a different device.
Try turning your Mac on and off and reconnecting to WiFi.
Here’s a quick checklist that you can use when troubleshooting your Mac:
- Note all the error messages
- Note when the problem first occurred
- Is your software up to date?
- Unplug everything from your Mac to see if it solves the issue
- Free up your disk space
- Check Activity Monitor
- Run Disk Utility
- Start in Safe Mode
- Start in Recovery Mode
Above all, don’t worry if you find that your MacBook has issues. Apple has confirmed that there are issues with their computers.
So, if you’re still unable to diagnose the issue and fix the problem, your best bet is to take it to an authorized service center and get to the root cause.
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