Macbook Air Constantly Restarting

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Dec 21, 2020 When your MacBook keeps restarting, this is what happens: The system detected a problem and it gives an error message that it must restart to fix the issue. If the system is truly stuck in the reboot cycle, the system will shut down. In general, a message will pop up on your Mac screen showing you 'Your Computer restarted because of a problem.' When powering up your MacBook Air, hold down the Command key and the R key. This will start the OS X Recovery system. From there you'll be able to reinstall the system (you can keep your installed programs and your data files) - which could fix the problem. When our iMac started to shut off suddenly, it would do it once a week or so. Then it got more and more frequent. Apple diagnosed it as a memory (RAM) problem and ended up replacing the entire logic board. You might want to run Apple Hardware Test and see if it rings anything out, or try booting in Safe Mode. Dec 13, 2019 Resetting PRAM might be a good way to prevent shutdowns: Shut down your Mac from the Apple Menu. Press the Power button and hold Command + Shift + P + R. Release the keys once you see the Apple logo for the second time, hear the second startup time, or after 20 seconds.

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We’ve been taught that Apple devices are a standard of reliability. If you want a stable computer, you get a Mac. If you want a phone that can handle hours of unbreakable connection, you get an iPhone. There’s some truth to it, but it would be wrong to think Apple devices are invincible. If you’ve ever experienced random Mac shutdowns, you know for sure Apple experience is not always flawless.

Worst of all, shutdowns might happen while you’re working on something important. This results in unsaved documents and your work being seriously delayed. In this article, we’ve collected all fixes you’ll ever need if your Mac starts shutting down. It also includes the guide to fixing a 13-inch MacBook Pro misbehavior.

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Troubleshooting random Mac shutdowns

Restarting your Mac is always the first idea that should come to mind. And sometimes, it really helps. Even though your Mac is technically shut down, restart Mac once again — the proper way. This will kill the background processes, ensuring your Mac has a healthy startup.

Once you power up your Mac after a shutdown, press Command + Alt + Esc to force quit background apps and then put your Mac to sleep, restart, or shut down from the Apple menu.

Unfortunately, this will hardly prevent your computer from shutting down again. If your computer keeps shutting down, consider SMC and PRAM resetting.

Reset the SMC


The SMC (System Management Controller) is responsible for battery and thermal management as well as any processes related to closing and opening your MacBook lid and pressing the power button. Clearly, it might be a part of the shutdown problem.

There are some differences on how to reset the SMC, depending on the type of computer you own. Pick your device from the list below and try it out.

MacBooks with removable or nonremovable battery

Reset the SMC on Mac laptops with removable battery:
  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Remove the battery (if you don’t want to do it yourself, go to the nearest Apple Service Center or Apple Retail Store).
  3. Press and hold the power button for a few seconds.
  4. Reinstall the battery and turn on your computer.
Reset the SMC on Mac laptops with nonremovable battery:
  1. Shut down your Mac from the Apple menu.
  2. Hold Shift + Control + Option + the Power button (or Touch ID button) for about 10 seconds.
  3. Release the keys and turn on your computer.

Mac desktop computers

Here’s how to reset the SMC if you’re an owner of iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, or Xserve. Note that this method works only for desktop computers without the Apple T2 Security Chip.

  1. Shut down your Mac from the Apple menu.
  2. Unplug the power cord and wait for about 15 seconds.
  3. Plug the power cord back in and wait for about another 5 seconds.
  4. Turn on your computer.

Computers that have the Apple T2 Security Chip

Here’s the complete list of Macs with the Apple T2 Security Chip:

  • iMac Pro
  • Mac Pro (2019)
  • Mac mini (2018)
  • MacBook Air (2018 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (2018 or later).

You can also find out whether your computer has the T2 Security Chip by holding Option > Apple Menu > System Information. From there, navigate to Controller or iBridge in the sidebar. You’ll find the answer under “Model Name.”

Here’s how to reset SMC if your computer has the T2 Chip:
  1. Shut down your Mac from the Apple menu.
  2. Hold the power button for about 10 seconds.
  3. Release the power button and wait for a few seconds before turning on your Mac.

If it didn’t work, try shutting down your Mac and then unplug the power cord. Wait for about 15 seconds, plug the power cord back in, and turn on your computer.

Here’s how to reset SMC if your computer doesn’t have the T2 Chip:

The traditional reset method for Macs without the T2 Chip is identical to the one described above. However, if it doesn’t eliminate the problem, you might need to try this one:

  1. Shut down your Mac from the Apple menu.
  2. Press and hold the right Shift key + the left Option key + the left Control key for about 7 seconds.
  3. Once the Apple logo appears on your screen, continue holding Shift, Option, and Control + the Power button for another 7 seconds.
  4. Wait for your Mac to turn off and release the buttons.
  5. Turn on the computer again.

Reset the PRAM

PRAM, or Parameter RAM, is another part of your computer that might be responsible for misbehavior. It stores lots of minor preferences — including those related to the startup disk. Resetting PRAM might be a good way to prevent shutdowns:

  1. Shut down your Mac from the Apple Menu.
  2. Press the Power button and hold Command + Shift + P + R.
  3. Release the keys once you see the Apple logo for the second time, hear the second startup time, or after 20 seconds.

After resetting PRAM, you might need to go to the System Preferences and adjust some of your settings — including volume and display resolution.

Update your macOS

There’s always less likelihood your Mac will be shutting down if you keep the macOS up-to-date. Unless you use 32-bit apps that are unsupported on macOS Catalina and macOS Big Sur, we recommend to upgrade your Mac. You can check for any pending updates in Apple Menu > About This Mac > Software Update.

How to fix 13-inch MacBook Pro shutting down

If you have a Mac Pro with a Touch Bar instead of function keys, there’s a dedicated troubleshooting method for your device. While Apple hasn’t launched the hardware replacement program for this device yet, it’s important you make note of the following:

  1. Discharge your MacBook Pro battery to 90% and below.
  2. Close all open applications.
  3. Connect the charger and switch to the Sleep Mode.
  4. Close the lid and let your Mac Pro charge for about 8 hours.
  5. Turn on your computer and update it to the latest macOS version.

If MacBook keeps restarting

Another issue is your Mac getting into the loop of constant restarting. It might be impossible to trace the reason for such restarts, so make sure you know all the fixes. But before taking any further steps, create a bootable back up of your disk with Get Backup Pro to keep everything you store on your Mac protected.

Disconnect peripheral devices

Make sure no external devices such as hard drives or printers are connected to your Mac. If it’s a desktop computer, you might leave a keyboard, mouse, and a display connected — but nothing beyond that. Turn on your Mac and continue working as usual.

Update software

Quite often, outdated software might cause restarting. Here are a few tips on how to deal with it:

Macbook Air Constantly Restarting 10

  • Update apps if you have any software updates pending.
  • If there’s a particular app causing the problem, contact the developers to help you solve it, or remove the app from Mac.
  • Reinstall third-party apps.

Reinstall macOS

If you’ve exhausted all the update attempts, your next step would be to reinstall macOS from Recovery. You’ll need to erase your startup disk first, but with the data backed up, there’s no need to worry. You can check the instructions on how to reinstall macOS on the Apple Support page.

Keep your Mac healthy and avoid the trouble

In many cases, random shutdowns have their symptoms: Your computer starts slowing down, the fans run at full speed and make loud noise, the apps go unresponsive. The other times, there’s no sign. Nothing. So it’s better to keep your Mac performance controlled so that you be warned whenever something goes wrong.

Tidy up your Mac with CleanMyMac X

CleanMyMac X is a cleaning utility for Mac that makes your machine tidier and therefore faster and stronger. It eliminates all the clutter from your hard drive and operating system in one scan.

Cluttered Mac is generally slower. If there are heaps of apps that haven’t been updated on your Mac, it can also shut down unexpectedly. This is where CMMX comes to help. From old caches to duplicates, CleanMyMac X wipes away everything that might be hampering your progress. The app will tell you about malware threats and let you know if there are any particularly large files you haven’t attended to.

Prevent future Mac shutdowns

Get iStat Menus to stay in the know about your Mac’s health. So that you never even get close to fixing a shutdown.

Monitor Mac’s health with iStat Menus

Your Mac will give you a hint when it’s not doing well if you have iStat Menus. The app adds tons of Mac health indicators to your menu bar. You’ll be able to control free disk space, instantly see what apps are draining your Mac’s battery, and view active processes. It’s the best way to ensure your computer never even starts misbehaving.

Create bootable backups with Get Backup Pro

We couldn’t emphasize this more: Before running any diagnostics or reset on your Mac, create a bootable backup of your disk. If you accidentally or purposefully delete anything, you’ll be able to get it all back with Get Backup Pro.

While all three utilities mentioned above are pretty pricey if you buy them separately, we recommend to use them via Setapp. It has all of these, plus around 160 other useful Mac utilities for a monthly subscription price starting at $9.99.

Read more about how to run a diagnostic on my mac

Macbook air constantly restarting 10

If your computer keeps shutting down

Take it to the nearest Apple Service Center. If you’ve tried to force shutdown Mac, reset SMC/PRAM, and update your macOS, but your Mac continues acting naughty, you’ll need to get service for your Mac. Most likely, it will be wiped — so prepare a backup in advance. Anyway, we wish you a long-living Mac and a productive work routine!

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Mac keeps restarting over and over? Mac keeps restarting on its own? MacBook Pro keeps restarting at boot? No worry. After reading this article, you can not only know why your Mac keeps restarting (Part 1), how to fix the “Mac keeps restarting” issue (Part 2) but also how to avoid spontaneous restarts on your Mac (Part 3). If you have encountered the similar problem on your iPhone X, iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus in iOS 11, go to the article about how to fix iPhone X/8/8 Plus keeps restarting to learn how to solve the problem.

Looking for the free software to transfer photos from iPhone to computer or from computer to your iPhone? Read the article to get what you want.

Part 1: Why Mac keeps restarting

In most of the cases, the main contributor to the 'Mac/MacBook Pro keeps restarting' issue is 'kernel panic'. The 'kernel' refers to the operating system of your Mac. Why does kernel panic lead to abnormal restarts? That's because the operating system has detected an issue on your Mac and the restart must be performed to fix the issue, which is usually caused by the faulty software or a problematic hardware. How to decide whether kernel panic is occurring? Generally, a message will pop up on your Mac screen showing you 'Your Computer restarted because of a problem'. If you are in the very situation, don't hesitate to get possible solutions in Part 2.

Part 2: How to fix Mac/MacBook Pro Keeps Restarting

If your Mac or MacBook Pro keeps restarting over and over, you first need to know where the problem is. Is the software installed on your Mac the cause of the issue or the hardware on your Mac to connected to your Mac the cause of the issue? If the kernel panic is related to hardware, follow the first two tips to learn what to do. While if the problem is related to software installed on your Mac, follow the last two tips instead. (Other solutions to common Mac/iDevice problems are also covered, go to iOS & Mac Topics to find what you need if you want.)

For hardware related kernel panic:

Force Restart Macbook Air

The kernel panic could be caused by a peripheral device or a combination of peripheral devices that has been connected to your Mac or the internal RAM or third-party hardware. Thus hardware troubleshooting is inevitable to solve the 'Mac keeps restarting' issue.

Tip 1: Check the peripheral devices connected to your Mac

Step 1: Shut down your Mac and disconnect all the peripheral devices. (Keep the display, keyboard, and mouse that are from App connected only. )

Step 2: Start your Mac and use it as usual.

Step 3: Troubleshoot hardware.

  • If your Mac works properly after you use it for a period of time and no kernel panic occurs, you must know that there is something wrong with the peripheral device that previously connected to your Mac. To check which peripheral device is the 'culprit', connect one peripheral device to your Mac at a time and test. If a single peripheral device doesn't cause the 'Mac keeps restarting' issue, you can try to connect two or more peripheral devices to your Mac and test.
  • While if a kernel panic occurs later, it must be something wrong with the internal RAM or third-party hardware. If so, follow tip 2 to check the hardware.

Tip 2: Check the internal RAM and third-party hardware on your Mac

Step 1: Shut down your Mac.

Step 2: Remove the third-party RAM and internal hardware from your Mac. Reseat your Apple RAM if you get one. If not, reseat the RAM you have instead.

Step 3: Start your Mac and use it as usual.

Step 4: Do troubleshooting.

  • If the 'Mac keeps restarting' problem doesn't happen after you use your Mac for a period of time, you know that the third-party RAM or third-party internal hardware should to replaced to avoid the kernel panic.
  • If your Mac keeps restarting again, you need to go to the Apple Store nearby with your Mac to seek help from Apple.

For software related kernel panic:

Tip 3: Reinstall operating system on your Mac

Step 1: Use macOS Recovery to reinstall macOS.

  • Hold and press the key combination (Command + R) on your Mac keyboard immediately after you press the power button to turn on your Mac until you see the Apple logo or a spinning globe.
  • Choose Reinstall macOS in the window and click Continue.

Step 2: If you have reinstalled macOS successfully, go to App Store >Updates to install all the updates on your Mac.

Step 3: Before you reinstall the third-party software, download and install all the third-party software updates.

Step 4: Do troubleshooting.

  • If the kernel panic doesn't occur, you have solved the issue successfully.
  • While if your Mac keeps restarting again, follow tip 4 introduced below.

Macbook Air Constantly Restarting Time

Tip 4: Fix 'Mac keeps restarting' issue related to software

Step 1: Use macOS Recovery to start your Mac. (Refer to step 1 in Tip 3.)

Step 2: Use Disk Utility to back up your disk image to an external drive with enough free space.

Step 3: Wipe the internal drive via Disk Utility.

Step 4: Install OS X and start your Mac from the internal drive.

Step 5: Go to App Store >Updates to install all updates on your Mac.

Step 6: Reinstall the third-party Apps on your Mac and copy the user data from the backup you have just created.

Part 3: How to prevent Mac from restarting

Macbook Restarting Loop

Unexpected restarts of Mac could be quite annoying, Thus it's necessary to learn how to prevent the problem from happening. The most effective way to avoid kernel panic is to always update your software to the latest version. You just need to go to App Store >Updates to make it. Easy, right? Hope you won't meet the 'Mac keeps restarting' issue again. For other problems like Mac running slow, Mac stuck on the login screen, Mac won't turn on and more, you can also find the fixes in the related article.