Basic Mac Troubleshooting

9 tips for resolving common issues

Bryan Gibson

Last Update vor einem Jahr

The following troubleshooting steps are common ways to resolve common issues experienced on Mac computers.  The effectiveness of each tip will vary greatly depending on the issue, so we recommend consulting with the Service Desk if you are not comfortable troubleshooting on your own.

1. Create a new standard user account.

How: System Preferences > Users & Groups > "+" button
Why: Create a new user account to log into to determine if the current user account is problematic. Note: Obviously this option will only be available if you can boot up your Mac to the macOS Desktop.Reset your Mac's SMC.

2. Reset your Mac's SMC.

How: Hold down the <shift><control><option> keys, and then, press the power button. Hold all of them for, at least, 10 seconds.

Why: Resets fans, keyboard backlight, status indicator, battery indicator, display backlight, power button, close/open the lid, sleep or shut down, the battery doesn't charge, or MagSafe indicator light shows an incorrect status.

3. Reset your Mac's NVRAM or PRAM.

What: Reset NVRAM or PRAM on your Mac - Apple Support Article

How: At boot-up, hold down the <option><command> <R> keys.

Why: Resets sound volume, display resolution, startup-disk selection, time zone, & kernel panic information.

4. Boot up your Mac in Safe Mode.

What: Use safe mode to isolate issues with your Mac - Apple Support Article

How: At boot-up, hold down the <shift> key until the Apple logo appears on the screen, then release the keys.
Why: To repair a corrupt file system and to perform a "quick" system disk repair pass.

5. Run either the Apple Hardware Test (AHT) (pre-2013 Macs) or the Apple Diagnostics (2013+ Macs) to uncover any potential hardware issues with your Mac.

Apple Diagnostics
Apple Hardware Test

6. Check your Mac's hard drive for errors.

What: About macOS Recovery - Apple Support Article

How:

  • For Recovery Mode: Immediately after pressing the power button, hold down the <command><R> keys until the Apple logo appears on the screen, then release the keys.
  • For Internet Recovery Mode: Immediately after pressing the power button, hold down the <option><command><R> keys until the spinning globe appears on the screen, then release the keys.
  • When at the initial Recovery Mode screen, select the Disk Utility option. Run Disk Utility > First Aid

Why: To verify the startup disk integrity using the Disk Utility's First Aid option.

7. Boot up your Mac in Single-User Mode.

How: At the command prompt, type: /sbin/fsck -fy <return>

  • If fsck makes any repairs, you will get a message that says: Files System was modified. If you do, run fsck again until you get the "The volume <volumename> appears to be OK" message.
  • Exit messages: Issues found = "File system was modified" OR No issues found = "The volume <name> appears to be OK"
  • Type reboot <return> at the prompt to exit Single-User Mode.
Why: To attempt to repair the startup drive.

8. Reinstall macOS.

What: How to reinstall macOS from macOS Recovery - Apple Support Article

How:

  • For Recovery Mode: Immediately after pressing the power button, hold down the <command><R> keys until the Apple logo appears on the screen, then release the keys.
  • For Internet Recovery Mode: Immediately after pressing the power button, hold down the <option><command><R> keys until the spinning globe appears on the screen, then release the keys.
  • When at the initial Recovery screen, select the Reinstall macOS option.

Why: To re-install  fresh copy of macOS.

9. Make a Genius Bar appointment at your local Apple Store or Apple-Authorized Service Provider.

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