How to Handle Mac Freezes and Crashes

February 25, 2013

by Joe Kissell, Macworld

Crashes and freezes in OS X are mercifully rare, but they do occur. Fortunately, most of them can be resolved readily; and even though a crash or freeze may have any of numerous causes or symptoms, the same procedure works for troubleshooting most of them.

Crashing apps

Your first step should be to determine the scope of a problem. Is just one application having difficulties, or is the whole system affected?

Send a report, or not: If an app quits unexpectedly, you know that it’s at least part of the problem. App crashes are usually accompanied by an error message. If you see one of these, click Reopen to send Apple a report with details about your system configuration and what went wrong, and then relaunch the app. Or click OK to send the report without relaunching the app.

With OS X’s default settings, a dialog box like this appears after most app crashes. Click Reopen to send a report to Apple and relaunch the app.

If you don’t want to send Apple information about crashes automatically, go to the Security & Privacy pane of System Preferences, click the lock icon, and enter your username and password to unlock it. Then click Privacy, select Diagnostics & Usage, and uncheck Send diagnostic & usage data to Apple. After you do that, the options in the crash dialog box change to Ignore, Report, and Reopen; only if you click Report is information sent to Apple.

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