Generally, MacBooks are reliable machines. But once in a while you may encounter minor problems that could ruin your day. Before you bring your Mac to an Apple qualified technician or repair shop or getting on the phone for a long call to support, figure out if you can troubleshoot the problem yourself. We’re listing 3 of the most common problems Mac users experience, and ways to fix them so you can get back to work in no time.
Identify the problem
Is the issue software or hardware-related? If you can’t figure this out, it’s best to document or take a screenshot of the error message you’ve encountered. Does it occur at certain time intervals? What were you doing when the error message appeared? Knowing the exact error of your Mac will help in identifying the problem so you can fix or have it fixed right away. Sometimes an issue occurs after you installed a new program or app. If this is the case, uninstall the program first and see what happens. Try to also check for recent updates to your Mac and Mac apps. As a general rule, make sure you are using the latest versions of Apple and third-party software for best compatibility. It’s also best that you remove all accessories and memory cards from your Mac, reboot and see if the problem is still there.
Common Mac problems and quick fixes you can do:
1. Slow performance
Before you download another program that claims to boost the speed of your Mac or resort to upgrading your RAM, restart your Mac first. See if this helps the speed. Did it work? If not, it’s time to check your Activity Monitor to find out which app is hogging your Mac’s power and memory. To do this, you can press Command and Space bar at the same time and type Activity Monitor. Or you can go to Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor. Look at the CPU and Memory tabs. If you are running a very intensive application or if one is broken, it may be using up too much CPU or hogging memory. Close the app that’s eating up your memory. Go to the app and choose to quit it from the menu. If it’s locked up, you can click on the name in Activity Monitor and then click the close or X sign in the upper left.
Another common concern amongst Mac users is an overheating machine usually accompanied by loud whirring fans and a hot to the touch Mac. Keep in mind that it’s normal for a Mac to heat up when you’re working on heavy processes. However, if you your Mac is shutting down due to heat or consistently overheating during regular use, it could be a sign of a serious problem. Here are some steps you can take not only to address the issue, but also to prevent it from happening in the future:
- Check the temperature with the help of an app. You can try iStat Pro or Temperature Gauge Pro. iStat Pro is a free app that offers basic temperature regulation and reporting. Whilst the Temperature Gauge Pro offers more advanced features for a fee. It can monitor the temperature of all heat sensors in your Mac, track and control the fan speeds, run diagnostics on faulty sensors and fans, and generate report of the temperature and fan speeds.
- Take practical measures by using your Macbook only on flat surface to dissipate heat. Also, make sure the vents aren’t covered. Avoid using it under direct sunlight. And lastly, clear away the dust inside your Mac by using compressed air to carefully remove the build up inside.
- Check your Mac’s fans if you are hearing strange noise. Connect the power cable and shut down your Mac. Press the power button and hold down the D key before the startup screen. Follow the instructions that will appear. If you are using an older Mac, choose the “basic test”. This diagnostic test will pick up any problems with your fans.
- Check for runaway apps which can use up battery power and CPU resources. Open Activity Monitor (Applications > Utilities). Choose All Processes. Click CPU > CPU Column. Sort the most active processes. For those apps using 70%-90% of the CPU, but aren’t currently working on an important task, press Quit Process.
- Disable CPU throttling to use less energy and conserve battery. This is also effective in making the system quieter.
- Check SSD (solid state drive) health to ensure it’s not failing and you are not in danger of losing all your stored data. There are a lot of SSD tools for Mac that you can download online that will help you diagnose any problem, speed up your SSD, and improve its lifespan.
- Reset the SMC as a last resort. If you’re still having same issue despite doing the steps above, then consider resetting the SMC (System Management Controller).
- Schedule a clean out of your Mac every 3-6 months.
3. Not Charging
Charging problems are surprisingly common amongst MacBook users. If you have an older MacBook with a removable battery, take the battery out and then re-insert it to see if that fixes the problem. You may also want to:
- Try another power outlet.
- Try another MacBook Charger
- Remove the MagSafe 2 adapter and try again. If it’s the MagSafe adapter, ask for a replacement from Apple.
If the above steps don’t solve your problem, you should reset the System Management Controller (SMC) on your Mac. Resetting the SMC may not only fix your charging problem but also other issues including;
- The computer doesn’t respond to the power button when pressed.
- A portable Mac doesn’t appear to respond properly when you close or open the lid.
- The computer sleeps or shuts down unexpectedly.
- The battery does not appear to be charging properly.
- The MagSafe power adaptor LED doesn’t appear to indicate the correct activity.
Take note, however, that the process of resetting the SMC on a Mac is different depending on the model, check this page for detailed instructions. If your Mac problem is not solved, you can bring it to one of our stores to get assistance from our expert technicians. Remember there’s a reason why people go through extensive training to become Mac repair technicians.