10 Quick Fixes for Common MacBook Problems

10 Quick Fixes for Common MacBook Problems

23rd Jul 2020

When it comes to reliable laptops and machines, MacBooks are recognized for high-quality hardware and intuitive software.

However, like any other computer, MacBooks can sometimes experience hiccups in performance. Some of them have earned popular nicknames such as “The Black Screen of Death,” the “Spinning Wheel” or “Beach Ball of Death.”

Not to worry, though, as Apple has extensive online tutorials and support threads that cover common issues a MacBook can face and easy ways to address them.

Important: Remember to back-up your files before performing any of the steps below to ensure that you don’t lose data during the troubleshooting process.

10 Quick Fixes for Common MacBook Problems

1. Reboot Mac

Rebooting your Mac is the easiest fix when you run into common problems like a frozen or unresponsive screen. Even Apple customer service reps will ask you to do this step first.

Turning your laptop on and off will trigger a reboot in the operating system and, most likely, fix any hiccups you encountered during a session.


The PRAM (parameter random access memory) and NVRAM (non-volatile random access memory) are responsible for issues like a slow or lagging startup, wrong screen resolutions, and audio problems. Older Macs have PRAM while the more modern models run on NVRAM, but they are essentially the same. The steps for doing the reset is as follows:

  • Turn your MacBook off.
  • Press the power button and immediately hold down the keys Command (⌘) -Option-P-R simultaneously for at least 20 seconds.
  • You’ll know it’s time to let go if you hear the startup chime or see your MacBook automatically reboot. Note that for MacBook models that have a startup chime, release the keys only after the second chime. For models that have the Apple T2 Security Chip, release the keys only after the Apple logo disappears for the second time.
  • Once the laptop is running, check your Startup Disk, Display, and Date & Time preferences. Sometimes the reboot may reset this information.

Important: Remember to back-up your files before performing any of the steps below to ensure that you don’t lose data during the troubleshooting process.

3. Boot into Safe Mode

Safe Mode helps you diagnose the root cause of your MacBook’s issues. It prevents extra software like system extensions, user fonts, and login details from loading, and allows you to perform a basic check-up of your startup disk.

Source: How To Geek

If you can’t seem to detect which app is causing issues on your laptop, do the following steps to use Safe Mode:

  • Turn your MacBook off.
  • Press the power button and immediately press and hold the Shift key as your laptop starts up.
  • Release the key only when the login window appears. Then, log in to your Mac.
  • There are some instances when you will be asked to log in again. On either the first or second login window, the “Safe Boot” label should appear in the corner of the window.

4. Update to the latest version of macOS and/or update Apps

If your issues are still present in Safe Mode, or your laptop restarts several times when you’re in Safe Mode, then it may be a software issue with your operating system.

For maximum performance you may want to consider the latest OS as it lessens the chance for security risks or glitches in the device. Always make sure that your computer is running the latest version of macOS (or OSX for earlier models).

We do recommend approaching any OS upgrade under careful considerations as upgrading to Catalina or Big Sur will remove 32-bit application support for instance.

If ready to move forward, go to the App Store or through the “Software Updates” tab in the System Preferences.Updates within the App Store are only for applications, not newer versions of macOS.

Updating to the latest version is easy to do on the MacBook’s built-in App Store. You may either navigate the Updates button or enter the name of the newest software on the Search bar.

Important: Remember to back-up your files before performing any of the steps below to ensure that you don’t lose data during the troubleshooting process.

5. Reinstall macOS

If you believe that you need to wipe your laptop clean because there are already too many overlapping software issues, you can easily reinstall your macOS in a few clicks via macOS Recovery. To do this, begin with any of the three options below:

  • Turn off your MacBook.
  • Power it up and immediately press and hold either of the following keys depending on your needs:
    1. Command (⌘)-R: Reinstall the latest software that was on your Mac.
    2. Option-Command (⌘)-R: Upgrade to the latest macOS compatible with your Mac.
    3. Shift-Option-R: Reinstall the macOS that came with your Mac or the closest version available.
  • The window below will appear, and you can now reinstall your macOS.

Source: Apple

6. First Aid (Disk Utility)

If you think you are experiencing disk problems such as apps suddenly quitting or corrupted files, you can detect this issue via First Aid in Disk Utility. First Aid shows the issue by checking your disk partitions, and each volume. Here’s how you can do this:

  • Find the Disk Utility app on your Mac and select View then Show All Devices.

Note: For startup disk or startup volume, access your Disk Utility by restarting your computer in macOS recovery, choose Disk Utility in the macOS Utility window, and click Continue. Make sure to also check your startup volume (Macintosh HD) and data volume (Macintosh HD - Data).

  • Next, navigate to the sidebar and click disk or volume, then choose First Aid Button .

Note: Back up your data and replace your disk if the check shows that your disk is about to fail.

  • Click Run, then Continue.

Here are the possible scenarios you may encounter:

  1. You’ve successfully fixed your disk when it shows that your disk is OK or has been repaired. Just click Show Details if you want to know more about the process.
  2. When it appears that you have an “overlapped extent allocation”, you can fix this by either deleting the file if and only if you can replace or recreate it, or examining the file if it has very important information and check if it’s not corrupted.

When the First Aid fails to fix your issue, contact Apple support for further troubleshooting and guided steps moving forward.

Important: Remember to back-up your files before performing any of the steps below to ensure that you don’t lose data during the troubleshooting process.

7. SMC Reset

When you are faced with issues related to power, battery, and fans, the system management controller (SMC) can fix this for you.

Before anything else, try a quick reboot of your computer by shutting it down and turning it on again. If you are still experiencing the issue, follow these steps:

  • Shut down your Mac.
  • Press and hold the following keys at the same time for seven (7) seconds: Control (), Option (Alt) ( ), and Shift. Your Mac should turn on.
  • While holding the same keys above, press and hold the power button. This should turn off your Mac again.
  • Hold it for another 7 seconds then release all keys.
  • Finally, press the power button to turn on your Mac.

If the issue still persists or your Mac doesn’t run a T2 chip, contact Apple for further assistance regarding this issue.

8. Create a new user

There may be some issues associated with your current user account, such as system preference settings that are unknowingly causing problems.

This is a bit of a drastic move since it’ll wipe out all of your existing tweaks and preferences. However, it’s a quick way to rule out any other system issues on software, if things run smoothly after you create a new user. You can give it the same admin privileges as before and start cleaning from here.

Important: Remember to back-up your files before performing any of the steps below to ensure that you don’t lose data during the troubleshooting process.

9. Delete unused apps

Bloatware can severely impact the performance of your laptop. If you feel like your MacBook is loading too slowly, then this may not just be a memory issue but a storage issue, as well. This is similar to other users’ experiences of a slower iPhone when their storage is nearing full capacity.

To delete unused apps, you can simply go to Finder > Applications, and drag the apps you don’t need to Trash. Some of these actions may require you to enter your user’s password.

Most of the time, this does the trick—however, you can go the extra mile and check if your old apps left unnecessary folders. To do this:

  • Go to Finder.
  • Hold down the Option key.
  • From the Go menu, select Library, and it will open.
  • Navigate to the Apps folder and make sure you don’t see any unwanted folders named after the files you deleted. In case you do, simply drag them to the Trash bin, too.

10. Bring to Apple Store

If none of the above fixes are working, the last resort will be to entrust your device in the capable hands of Apple support specialists. If your MacBook is still under warranty, don’t forget to bring your receipt for it.

If you bought your MacBook from a certified Apple refurbished center, you could also qualify for repairs under warranty, depending on the fine print.

Troubleshoot Before It’s Too Late

If you notice that your MacBook is experiencing problems, don’t hesitate to deploy a fix right away. The longer the issue stays unresolved, the higher the chances of it causing problems to other areas of your laptop, too.

If you're looking for refurbished Apple computers for sale, you can check out Macs4U for great deals. Each purchase includes a warranty and a courtesy support session to resolve common issues found in a MacBook!