How to save a Frozen Mac – a guide to Fix a stuck Mac

Is your Mac frozen?

As a dedicated Mac user, it hurts to admit that even a Mac computer once in a while may freeze or get stuck. The phenomenon is otherwise best known from PC universe and the blue screens of death and their frequent breakdowns.

When a Mac freezes, it can be recognized by the little spinning rainbow ball in the middle of the screen. Alternatively, the computer may also lock completely, and the cursor can not move and the clock in the right corner stops. It is a dreaded moment for all Mac users!

The spinning icon is also know as the spinning beachball of death.
You need to see it to understand the reference.Spinning beachball of death

What to do when your Mac freezes

If your Mac freezes there are several things you can try before you restart it. Forcing a restart on your Mac is, in my mind, the last option.

Try to save your current work by pressing Command + S.
Sometimes it can save your work, even though the program is crashed. Otherwise data might be lost.

Often the freezing problem can be solved by terminating the program by pressing Command + Q.

If that doesn’t work you can try to force-quit the program causing the freeze by pressing Command + Alt + Escape. Here you can choose what program to quit.

If none of the above works, there is unfortunately no other option than to restart the Mac.
This can be done by pressing and holding the powerbutton on the computer – this will turn off the computer completely.

Most freezes and system crashes are caused by temporary software problems. Restarting the computer clears the Macs memory and usually solves the problems.

If it’s a recurring problem, your Mac may have affected by a virus.

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How to save a Frozen Mac - a guide to Fix a stuck Mac, 3.7 out of 5 based on 119 ratings


  1. Tim

    Oh.. didnt knew that Command+Alt+Esc trick. I will remember that one.

  2. Brian Lang

    Hello I asked the IT department, and they didn’t know anything about how to fix a mac that was frozen. I have bookmarked this guide.

  3. Gertrude

    A better magazine theme will make the blog looks nicer:)

  4. Banana Nut Muffins Best Recipes

    I’m still learning from you, while I’m improving myself. I certainly liked reading all that is posted on your website.Keep the information coming. I enjoyed it!

  5. click

    This really solved my problem, thank you!

  6. Irine

    Wow.. my Mac was stuck and I couldt save my open document, then I started my other PC and found this guide. I followed this guide, but wasnt able to save my current work. After some reboots and more freezes I realized that I might have been hit by a virus or something so I had to do a whole reinstall. Hope this mac tip helps other people more that it helped me.

  7. Bernard

    My Mac keeps getting stuck w/ a black screen and spinning beach ball whenever I try to wake it after the screen goes blank.

  8. mm-vision

    Didnt allow me to save my work, but it restarted just fine :(

  9. Hortensia Losado

    Thanks for sharing. Great info.

  10. Joanie

    Sorry I couldn’t figure out how to rate you. I would have given you 5 stars.

  11. Don

    My mac froze the other day – this didnt help but I was lucky that I recently saved my work in Word,
    Thanks anyway :)

  12. Michael W

    I have this weird problem, my mac is completely frozen and it does that everyonce in a while.
    What happends is that it freezes the moment i launch steam (to play FM13).
    Any ideas?

  13. Doris

    Mac froze and tried control, command , escape ended up unplugging it and restarting it, just get apple page, gray, and the wheel circling, forever…. What next?

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