5 of the Most Common MacBook Problems and Solutions

Is it starting to feel like your MacBook is on its last legs?

The MacBook has been one of Apple’s most popular products, and for good reason. It offers intuitive features and first-class apps to boost productivity. Its hardware and exclusive OS make the MacBook seem almost perfect.

However, everyone experiences MacBook problems from time to time. It can be frustrating when you’re trying to meet deadlines at work or school. Is your MacBook giving you problems?

As it turns out, you can fix many of the most common MacBook problems by freeing up system resources. Restarting and resetting your MacBook in different ways can also help. For an in-depth guide of the five most common MacBook problems and how to fix them, read our guide.

1. It Keeps Dying

One of the most frustrating things that can happen when using a MacBook is when it crashes at random times. The most typical reason for this is an issue with the battery, the charger, or the laptop overheating.

Check the charger and all connection points. If the cable looks frayed or either end feels loose when plugged in, that could be the problem. See if your MacBook says it’s charging when the charger is in.

If it doesn’t charge, try a different cable or device. If the cable can charge another device, it’s an issue with your MacBook. You can remove the battery and then connect the power to your laptop without it.

If your MacBook runs fine without the crashing repeating, then the issue was with the battery. That’s good news since replacing the battery is cheaper than the whole unit. If all else fails, and you’re still experiencing random MacBook crashes, there are two more options before you replace it or take it for repair.

Resetting the SMC and NVRAM

Reset your SMC and NVRAM. SMC stands for System Management Chip, and NVRAM means Non-volatile Random-Access Memory.

The SMC and NVRAM reset is only available on Intel-chipped Macs. If you have the new M1, your best bet is to shut down your laptop, wait 1 minute, and boot it up again. Apple claims that shutting down your M1 MacBook like this will trigger a similar reset to the old SMC or NVRAM.

If you have an older Intel-based Mac, start by shutting it off. Hold right shift + left option + left control + the power button for 10 seconds. Once the 10 seconds is up, let go, wait another 10-15 seconds, and restart your laptop.

If the problem persists, reset your NVRAM next. On older MacBooks, it’s known as PRAM, but they both reset the same way. With your MacBook turned off, turn it on and then press and hold Command+Option+P+R simultaneously.

If successful, you’ll see and hear your MacBook startup twice. Hold until the second time you see the Apple logo disappear, then let go. If your laptop still crashes after all of that, you may have to take it to get repaired.

2. Your MacBook is Slow

If you have a slow MacBook, it’s likely a result of your laptop getting overwhelmed. It either doesn’t have enough RAM to handle what you’re putting it through or is overheating due to poor ventilation.

The Activity Monitor will tell you which programs or files are causing the issue. Anything non-essential using a huge amount of resources needs to go. It’s also a good idea to check your available hard disk space.

A good rule of thumb is to leave 20-25% of free space. Old or duplicate files eat up space and resources, which can slow down your Mac. Deleting, cleaning, and organizing those files is the best way to free up resources.

However, this can be time-intensive. A duplicate file finder is a nifty bit of software you can use to automate the process. You can read about the best ones here.

3. Blank Screen on Start-Up

Among the most common MacBook issues is the MacBook blank screen of death. This happens when your Mac’s OS doesn’t load, giving you a blank screen instead of your login one.

Start by restarting your MacBook, as it could be a temporary hiccup. If it persists, you’ll need to boot up in Safe mode by holding the shift key until you see the login page. Safe mode should fix most boot-up issues, but you’ll need to use recovery mode if it doesn’t.

On an intel-chipped Mac, hold CMD + R while starting it up and keep pressing them until you enter recovery mode. On an M1 Mac, hold the power button until it shows you startup options. Choosing to continue will enter recovery mode.

Once inside recovery mode, you can roll back your MacBook to a time before the issue started. This is useful if your disk or OS got corrupted by a failed update since you can remove it and try again.

4. Flickering Screen

Another on the list of MacBook problems is a flickering screen. Sometimes, these result from physical damage, such as cracks or caused by liquid. Other times, it’s software.

If you can’t see any physical damage, start checking for updates on your OS or drivers. If that’s good, reset your NVRAM using the instructions above under the first section. The third method would be giving Safe mode a try to see if the issue results from your Mac or a third-party program.

If the problem goes away in Safe mode, one of your apps is causing the issue. Try disabling or deleting them one by one until you see which one it is. If you still have a problem in Safe mode, there might be damage you cannot see and might need repairing.

5. Your MacBook Keeps Freezing

A freeze problem is often caused by the same issues of a slow or crashing MacBook. Freeing up space on a MacBook is one of the best ways to keep it from repeating. To fix it when it does freeze, start by holding the option key down.

If you click on icons with this button pressed, it will force close those apps you click on, freeing up your RAM. If even the mouse freezes, you can do the same with Option + Esc + Command. A list of apps will pop up, and you can use the arrow keys and your keyboard to shut down the ones you want.

If all else fails, you should restart. Resetting the SMC and NVRAM can help stop the problem from reoccurring, but you might need to upgrade too.

Solving Common MacBook Problems

When solving common MacBook problems, the first step is usually restarting the laptop. Closing excess apps, deleting heavy programs, and getting rid of duplicate files also help. Resetting the SMC and NVRAM or using Safe mode are good catch-all methods for many issues.

For more on the world of MacBooks, take a look at our site.

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