How to fix crashing apps on Mac | Jobs Vox


Force quit any offending Mac apps by right-clicking the icon in the Dock, then pressing the Option key and choosing “Force Quit” from the menu. You can also find unresponsive apps with Activity Monitor, restart your Mac, install featured updates, and completely uninstall and reinstall the app.

macOS is a stable and productive operating system that, assuming you have enough free space and RAM, you should just keep on porting. This is not always the case with third-party apps, which are more likely to stop responding on a Mac than the operating system itself.

Force quit hanging or frozen apps

If an app crashes and becomes unresponsive, fails to launch properly, or the icon is spinning in the dock and nothing seems to happen, you can always use Force Quit to end the process.

To do this, right-click the app icon in the Dock, then hold down the Option key on your keyboard and select “Force Quit” from the context menu. The application should close immediately and you can try to open it again.

Find problematic apps and disable them with Activity Monitor

Sometimes problematic apps can cause your Mac to slow down, become sluggish, or become a perpetual spinning wheel of death. Normally, if an app becomes unresponsive, you can still Command+Tab between other apps, but performance may suffer noticeably.

This is especially true if the application in question hoards resources such as processing power and RAM. This is where Activity Monitor appears. This built-in utility allows you to fix problems and eliminate the cause with just a few clicks.

macOS Activity Monitor

Launch Activity Monitor by launching Spotlight (Command+Spacebar) and then searching or searching for Applications > Utilities. Now use the CPU and Memory tabs to sort the “% CPU” and “Memory” tabs in descending order, with the apps using the most resources at the top.

If you notice a problematic app sitting at the top, using a huge amount of CPU (for example, over 100%) or hogging a lot of memory, you can click on it, then tap the “X” button at the top. window to kill the process.

Also, look out for apps that are highlighted in red or that have the suffix “(not responding)” after the app name.

Related: How to monitor CPU usage on your Mac’s dock

Restart your Mac

Sometimes restarting all the processes that the application may depend on is the best solution to the problem. To do this, restart macOS by clicking on the Apple logo and selecting “Restart”, then confirm your decision.

Restart the macOS system without reopening applications

Try updating the app

It can be difficult to update an app that won’t launch, as many macOS apps rely on automatic updates built into the app itself. This is not the case for all apps, however, such as those installed through the Mac App Store. You can update these apps by launching the Mac App Store, then clicking Updates in the sidebar and clicking Update next to the app in question.

Update apps in the Mac App Store

Some apps have separate updates, including suites like Adobe Creative Cloud and games installed in storefronts like Steam. Update them by launching the companion app and scanning for updates.

If the problematic application was installed using the Homebrew package manager, open Terminal and run it brew upgrade command, or target the app specifically brew upgrade <name>.

Uninstall and reinstall the app

You can also try uninstalling problematic and crashing apps and reinstalling them, preferably with a more up-to-date and reliable version. To do this, open the Applications folder in the Finder and find the one that’s causing the problem. Right-click on it and select “Move to Bin” or move the application from the Applications folder to the Trash in your Dock.

Uninstall an app in macOS with the Finder

Now launch Finder and click Go > Go to Folder and type or paste ~/Library/Preferences and delete the app preferences files you just deleted for the app.

You can also do a thorough uninstall with an app like AppCleaner, which cleans your drive of app traces and tries to remove them. Finally, restart your Mac and reinstall the app to try again. We recommend trying the latest version first before looking at older (potentially more stable) versions if you’re still having issues.

Remove any add-ons or modifications to the app

Sometimes an add-on can cause the app to crash or become unresponsive. It could be a plugin or mod you’ve installed to use with the app that’s causing the problem. Some examples include brushes or filter plugins in photo editors, VST and AU modules in music production environments, and mods or custom elements in games.

An affected app may scan the designated folder and attempt to load plugins at startup. This can cause the app to crash or hang, so removing these add-ons and trying again is worth a shot (especially if the problem started after you installed an optional add-on).

We recommend adding plugins or modifications one at a time until you find the source of the problem, rather than repeating the exact circumstances that caused the problem in the first place.

What to do if the application does not open at all

If the app just freezes and then does nothing, and you’ve tried all the solutions above, chances are it’s just broken. There’s not much else you can try to fix the problem, so looking for an alternative to this app using a website like AlternativeTo is your best bet.

If you see “Unable to verify developer error”, you can disable this security measure and still open the app. This happens when the app isn’t signed with a valid Apple Developer certificate, a measure Apple uses to instill trust in third-party apps. If you trust the app, go to System Settings > Privacy & Security and click the “Open Anyway” button to open the app

If you see that the app is “corrupted and cannot be opened”, then there is a good chance that it is quarantined. This happens when macOS suspects that an app is dangerous, but many harmless apps are caught on the network.

The file is corrupted error on macOS

If you trust the source of the download (like the developer’s website), you can go ahead and open it. Try right-clicking on it and selecting “Open” or Apply xattr command in Terminal to whitelist the app.

Could macOS be to blame?

Some Intel Mac apps may not have universal binaries, causing problems with Rosetta 2 incompatibility with Apple Silicon models. You can confirm this by checking the “Kind” app in System Information > Software > Applications (find this setting by clicking Apple, then holding Option and selecting System Information).

Check out the app "Ketil" in System Information on macOS

Some apps simply don’t work properly after upgrading to a new version of macOS. You can always download and install an older version of macOS if you depended on an app that no longer works and want to roll back.

Are you still having problems? Learn how to diagnose and fix a slow or unresponsive Mac, as well as the warning signs to look out for that signal your Mac might have a problem.


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