Having a reputation for intelligent and responsive software, Macs sometimes can behave not the way you expect. Except for minor software issues that may happen when you use your Mac actively, Mac crashes may really interrupt your work and affect your performance. So, here we will explain why your Mac keeps crashing and how to “cure” it of this disease.
MacOS High Sierra (10.13) or later have an APFS file system which does disk state snapshots which are accessible as Time Machine backup. That means what in case of restart loop because of lack of free space you need to boot into recovery mode by holding Cmd + R right after machine starts, and go into Restore from Time Machine Backup there: you will have local time machine backups and will be. Rebooting your computer helps keep it running smoothly. It clears the memory, stopping any tasks that are eating up RAM. Even if you’ve closed an app, it could still tap your memory.
Why your Mac keeps crashing
If your Mac crashed, you would probably see the “Your computer was restarted because of a problem” message on your screen. Usually, Macs freeze from being unable to deal with software installed on it, or device connected to your machine. In these cases, your Mac may restart in order to eliminate the issue. But, if the Mac crashes on its startup, things may get serious as it can lead to complete shut down.
Here’re the most common reasons why your Mac keeps restarting:
- Application incompatibility
The system crash can be the “reaction” of your macOS to crashes of some app on your Mac. It often happens that the version of the application becomes incompatible with the current macOS version. It’s a well-known rule that you need to update the apps as soon as a new version is released. But, sometimes even app developers fail to fix bugs and release an improved version of the software. That app’s inability to meet system requirements and, at the same time, respond user’s requests can put too much pressure on your Mac’s OS, making it crash.
One way to prevent Mac crash is to force-quit the app that has a spinning wheel icon, which means your machine can’t handle the number of tasks in progress.
- Lack of system memory for software to run
If you are using apps that require a lot of free space to store data (like Photoshop), your computer may freeze or crash due to a lack of memory. You should consider freeing some space if the above-mentioned happens or try to switch this storage-hogging app to an alternative option.
- Heavy usage of CPU
Some software may consume too much of your Mac’s CPU. Try to remember what apps you used before the last system crash. Usually, games, graphic editors, developer tools, and similar apps that process a lot of information put some pressure on your CPU. You can also hear your Mac’s fans working loudly when CPU is overly active. Such overperformance of your processor may be followed by a crash, especially when several such apps are in progress.
- Hardware incompatibilities
Certain MacBooks Pro have removable RAM. If you have recently done some fixes to your Mac and installed new memory, it can turn out to be the reason behind your Mac crashes. When installing hardware or RAM, it’s essential to choose compatible parts and install them correctly. If possible, get back the original details and check whether your Mac crashes with them.
If your Mac has restarted because of unknown reasons, there is a quick solution to prevent further crashes. CleanMyMac X is a versatile tool for your Mac that is notarized by Apple. It cleans junk, terminates heavy processes that may result in Mac freezing and crashing. Using its Smart Scan feature regularly you can remove the junk that takes too much space and reduce CPU usage.
If you see Mac’s crash screen, you will need to take a look at the Mac crash report for more information regarding what happened.
How to read Mac crash reports
After the restart, your Mac will show a notification about why the crash occurred. You can click the Report... button to see the details.
Another place to find all reports is Console. Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Console. As you open Console, choose Crash Reports from the list on the left.
The crash files should end in “.crash” and have a crash date in the name. Open the report. Here are the key details the crash reports include:
You will see the name of the application or particular process that is responsible for the crash.
It tells you when exactly the crash occurred.
- Exception type
This part enlightens the user about what caused the crash.
It is a chronological list of processes that were initiated before the crash.
Mac crash report is an important file, which can help developers investigate software imperfections and find out how to enhance both OS and computer programs.
On the other hand, crash reports are not that useful for users. So, if you can’t understand the report, that’s not your fault, because it’s generated mainly for developers.
What to do if your Mac keeps crashing
If you think the problem may be with current macOS and some apps, you can try reverting your system to the previous OS version. Here’s how to do that:
- Choose Restart from the Apple menu.
- During restart, press and hold Command + R. The Apple logo should appear.
- In the Time Machine Backup, choose Restore and select your disk.
- Select the backup you want to roll back the system to.
- Follow the instructions to complete the process.
Another useful thing to do is to free up RAM. You can do that by touch of a button with CleanMyMac X. Using the Maintenance feature, you can run maintenance scripts to let CleanMyMac X remove temporary files and logs that may interfere with Mac’s performance.
- Download your free copy of CleanMyMac X here.
- Launch the app and go to the Maintenance module.
- Check Free Up RAM and Run Maintenance Scripts.
- Click Run.
Now, your system memory is optimized. Additionally, you can clean some junk using the System Junk module to delete broken login items and cache that can be a cause of Mac’s freezing.
If nothing helps and your Mac keeps crashing, try to contact Apple Support. Describe your problem, providing lots of details, so the agent can help you define the exact issue and solve the problem.
There can be plenty of reasons why your MacBook crashes. Note that crashing is a sign that your system is unable to handle some problem on your machine. So, if it occurs regularly, it’s better to address Apple Support and ask for professional help with your Mac.
System cleanup in one click
When your Mac keeps restarting or unexpectedly tells you that you have to restart because of a problem, that's a kernel panic.
There are few things more terrifying when using a Mac than the dreaded kernel panic. A kernel panic occurs when your Mac runs into a problem that is so serious it is unable to continue running. When it happens, your Mac displays a dark grey screen with the words 'You need to restart your computer. Hold down the Power button for several seconds or press the Restart button.'
How to stop a kernel panic?
The only way to fix a kernel panic error is to do exactly that and restart your Mac. Fortunately, kernel panics are very rare these days and when they do occur, restarting your Mac may be all you need to do to never see one again.
Computer Keeps Restarting Windows 10
If you suffer repeated kernel panics, however, you'll need to investigate the cause and solve the problem — it could be a conflict between poorly written apps or services, or a problem with hardware. The software is the most likely culprit. But thanks to apps from Setapp, fixing problems with software and avoiding kernel panics is very easy.
Tools to fix Kernel Panic
A collection of tools that keeps your Mac from going grey. Get your hands on it and stay on the safe side.
Here's how to vastly reduce your chances of needing to fix a kernel panic in the future.
- Shut down your Mac and disconnect all hardware except your keyboard and mouse. If you use a third-party keyboard and mouse, swap them for the Apple versions, where possible. Restart your Mac. If your Mac runs ok and there are no more kernel panics, it's likely a device connected to your Mac was to blame.
- Shut down your Mac again and re-connect one device. Restart your Mac. Repeat this process until you get another kernel panic. When that happens, you'll know the last device you connected was the culprit. You can now either use your Mac without the device or check to see if it has updated drivers and install those, then try again with the device connected.
- First, rule out a deep-rooted problem with macOS. Restart your Mac in safe mode by holding down the shift key when you restart. This disables login items, kernel extensions, and all fonts not used by the system. It also does a check of your startup drive's directory structure. If you can reboot in safe mode and use your Mac without a kernel panic occurs, the likely cause of the problem is files installed by an application or a login item.
- If you experience a kernel panic in safe mode and you've ruled out a problem with hardware connected to your Mac, the problem could be your Mac's basic hardware or system. Try doing a clean install of macOS, and starting from there.
- Assuming running in safe mode worked, you can reboot normally and use the techniques below to reduce the likelihood of experiencing a kernel panic in the future.
What's causing Kernel Panic? Identify potential problems
It can be a million reasons why your Mac keeps restarting. The best way to identify what's wrong is use system monitoring app like iStat Menus. It makes it easy to track the performance of your Mac and see whether any applications are hogging resources, like CPU cycles or RAM.
- Launch iStat Menus, and set up monitoring.
- Use the Dashboard to choose which components you want to display in the menu bar. At the very least, choose CPU.
- Click on CPU in the menu bar to see which processes are consuming the most cycles — it's an indication that an app or system component is having problems. If an app consistently uses a significant percentage of CPU cycles, uninstall it using CleanMyMac (see below) and reinstall it.
- It's also a good idea to use the sensors tab to keep an eye on your Mac's fans. An overheating Mac is likely to run into problems.
Uninstall applications with CleanMyMac
CleanMyMac allows you to easily uninstall problematic login items and applications.
Computer Keeps Restarting
To uninstall an application:
- Launch CleanMyMac (if you haven't already installed it, launch Setapp, search for it and click Install).
- Click on Uninstaller in the Application section in the left-hand window. Navigate to the application you want to uninstall and click the checkbox next to it.
- Click Uninstall
To uninstall a login item:
- Click on Optimization in the Speed section, then Login Items.
- Navigate to the login item you want to uninstall and click the checkbox next to it.
- Click Perform.
You can do the same for System Preferences panes, browser extensions, audio plugins, and other system files. Before you attempt to remove something, however, make sure you know what it does and how its removal will affect your ability to use the application it is associated with.
Clean up your hard drive / SSD with Mac cleaning tools
While you're troubleshooting and solving problems with your Mac, it's a good idea to clean up its hard drive or SSD and remove duplicate files. There are a couple of apps available in Setapp that make this a breeze.
Disk Drill allows you to quickly identify files that are taking up lots of space on your drive and remove them. It's quick and easy to do and can free up several gigabytes.
Gemini identifies duplicate files on your Mac and allows you to remove copies very easily. It's a simple way to free up space on your Mac.
Cleaning up your hard drive or SSD is important because to have room for virtual memory, you need to keep at least 10% of your disk's capacity free.
Find out how to use Disk Drill and Gemini to free up storage space on your Mac and reduce the chances of it having a kernel panic.
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As you can see, kernel panics aren't nearly as worrisome as they first appear. Following the process above, you can quickly fix the problem. Or, better still, you can take steps now to avoid one altogether.