Mac Frozen? How to Unfreeze a Mac

Is your Mac frozen and you can’t find a way to fix it? Read on as we have covered every possible solution on how to unfreeze Mac in this informative tutorial.

Jun 08, 2020 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

“My Mac is frozen and it is not responding to any click as well. I’m completely stuck and don’t know how to access my files now. Is there any feasible solution for a frozen screen on Mac?”

This is a query from one of the many Mac users who can’t seem to unfreeze their Mac system. It might surprise you, but a lot of Mac users also suffer from a similar situation on a daily basis. Chances are that your Mac can also be frozen on startup screen or an application like Word can be frozen on Mac as well.

Don’t worry – while the problem might seem tedious, it can easily be resolved by following some smart solutions. In this post, we will teach you what to do when Mac freezes, so that you can resolve the problem and access all the macOS features again. Let’s get to know about these solutions in detail!


Part 1. Why Does Mac Keeps Freezing or has been Frozen?

Even though macOS is highly efficient, it might malfunction at times out of the blue. Before we discuss solutions to unfreeze Mac, let’s quickly have a look at what could have caused this issue in the first place.


Part 2. What to Do When Mac Freezes?

Now when you know what could have caused your Mac to be frozen, let’s dive in and learn how to fix this issue.

1. Force Quit an Application on Mac

Most of the times, a Mac screen gets frozen unexpectedly while running a faulty or malfunctioning application. Also, if the application has stopped running out of the blue, then it can tamper with your Mac’s functionality as well. In this case, you can forcefully close the application to unfreeze Mac.

  1. If the mouse is not responding, then you can just press the Option, Command, and Escape keys at the same time. This is similar to Ctrl + ALT + Del in Windows.


  2. Alternatively, if the mouse cursor is working, then just click on the Apple logo on the top and choose the “Force Quit” option.
  3. A dedicated pop-up for “Force Quit Applications” would be launched. Just select the application that you wish to close and click on the “Force Quit” button.


2. Force Shut Down Your Mac

Apart from being a faulty application, there could be different reasons for an Apple Mac to be frozen. If even after closing or removing an application, your Mac computer stays frozen, then you should try to forcefully shut it down.

  1. Firstly, try to look for the Power key on your Mac. It is located on the top right corner of the keyboard in laptops while on desktops, it is at the back of the screen.


  2. Press the Power key and keep holding it for the next 5-10 seconds. Let it go as you hear a click sound that would turn your Mac off.
  3. Besides that, you can also press the Command + Option + Control + Power buttons (all at the same time) to forcefully shutdown Mac.

3. Reboot Mac in Safe Mode

The safe mode in Mac works quite similar to that of Windows. When we restart Mac in safe mode, it would only load the essential applications and processes. It even restricts the network connection to ensure that the system remains secure. Therefore, if your Mac freezes randomly, then consider following these steps to boot it in the safe mode instead.

  1. If your Mac is already turned on, then you need to restart it. If not, then just press the power button to turn it on.
  2. As soon as you would hear the startup chime, press the Shift key and keep holding it for a few seconds. You might have to press it a few times.


  3. This will boot the system in the safe mode instead of the normal mode. Just log-in to any account and access the restricted Mac features.


4. Use Disk Utility to Clean or Fix Mac Issues

If you think there is an issue with your Mac system, then you should take the assistance of its Disk Utility. This is an inbuilt feature in Mac that can help us repair macOS, reinstall it, or perform an extensive scan of the system. If you are lucky, then you would be able to fix Mac screen frozen by running macOS Utilities.

  1. If the system is running, then you can just go to its Applications > Utilities and open Disk Utilities.
  2. In case if you can’t access it, then simply turn off your system and restart it. You can also go to its main menu and click on the “Restart” option here as well.


  3. When your Mac would restart, press and hold the Command + R keys at the same time. Keep pressing them for a while as your Mac would be restarted in the recovery mode.
  4. From all the available options of macOS Utilities on the screen, you can choose to repair the system or reinstall macOS. If you want, you can even run go to “Disk Utility” to clean up any issue on Mac.


5. Free Up Hard Drive Space

If your Mac system is running low on free space, then it can also cause it to slow down. Sometimes, the system can be so packed that it might not have enough space to run any process or application as well. As a result, the system shuts down or Mac mouse freezes in between. You can consider the following suggestions to make more free space on your Mac.

  1. There could be a lot of data on Mac’s Trash, which can consume its storage unnecessarily. You can simply right-click the trash icon from the dock and choose to empty it from here.


  2. Apart from that, there could be a lot of unwanted applications installed on your Mac as well. Just go to the Applications folder on your Mac via Finder and try to pick the applications you no longer need. From here, you can uninstall the selected applications too.


  3. There might be a lot of temporary data and cache files accumulated on your Mac as well. You can go to the Cache folder to delete the files you no longer need. Additionally, select the browser app (like Safari or Chrome) and go to its menu to clear the browsing history.


  4. Lastly, you can just go to the Finder and look for any unwanted data that you no longer need. For instance, if there are multiple iTunes backup files, then go to “~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup” and delete the data you no longer need. In the same way, you also visit any partition and delete unimportant files from here to make more free space.


Related: Come to know more ways of freeing up Mac storage space.
- 3 minutes to read it.

Video Tutorial on How to Fix Grey Screen at Startup on Mac

Recent Videos from Recoverit

View More >

Part 3. Specific Fixes for Frozen Mac

Apart from some general problems related to Mac frozen screen, your system can encounter specific issues too. Here are some of these particular problems related to Mac with their easy solutions.

1. Mouse Cursor Frozen on Mac

The Mac cursor frozen is one of the most common issues that you might also encounter. If you are using a USB mouse, then make sure it has working batteries or no physical damage. Also, get your touchpad checked and clean it from any dirt or debris. If there is any accessibility or software issue, then consider these suggestions.

• Change Accessibility Settings

The quickest way to fix your Mac cursor frozen is by visiting the System Preferences > Accessibility settings. Go to the “Display” tab and increase the cursor size. You can also enable the option to view mouse cursor on shaking.


• Reconfigure the mouse

You can also choose to reconfigure the mouse from the start as well. To do this, just visit the “Mouse” panel under System Preferences. From here, you can configure the point and click options. Also, go to the gestures tab to enable/disable any feature.


2. Microsoft Word Frozen on Mac

MS Word is one of the most widely used applications out there, which can help Mac users in different ways. Though, if you are running an old version of Mac or if there is a conflict in its command, then it can make Word frozen on Mac as well. The good thing is that you can easily fix it in the following manner.

• Reset the Template and AutoRecovery files

Both the template and auto-recovery files are considered quite important in Word. Though, these files can also tamper with the functioning of Mac at times. To fix Word frozen on Mac, click on Go > Go to Folder on the main menu and enter ““~/Library/Containers/”. This will load the AutoRecovery folder from where you can delete the recovery Word files on Mac.


Subsequently, you can also reset the temp files related to Word as well. To do this, go to Word Preferences > File Locations and select the “User templates” option. Now, click on the “Reset” button.


• Update your Word application

If you are running an outdated version of MS Word on your Mac, then you are bound to face unwanted issues with it. To avoid this, just launch Word and go to Help > Check for Updates. Here, you can enable the automatic check and install feature as well. Again, click on the “Check for Updates” button to download the recent Word update.


3. Safari Freezes on Mac

Safari is the default browser on Mac and is widely used by many to access the web seamlessly. Though, just like any other application, it can also malfunction on your system. Whenever Safari freezes on Mac, consider following these suggestions.

• Clear browsing history and data

If there is a lot of saved data and browsing history on Safari, then it can make the browser run slower than ever. Therefore, if Safari freezes Mac way too often, then you should get rid of it instead. Just launch Safari on Mac and go to its History > Clear History and Website Data to do the same.


Deleted Internet history by mistake? Go there and get the solutions to recover deleted browser history.
- 3 minutes to read it.

• Uninstall Safari extensions

Just like other popular browsers like Chrome and Firefox, even Safari supports tons of extensions. Though, some third-party extensions can be a bit unreliable and might corrupt your browser itself. To resolve this, just launch Safari, and go to its Preferences > Extensions. Just select the extension you want to get rid of and click on the “Uninstall” button to remove it.


4. Mac Update Frozen

If your Mac has been frozen, then you must have heard from people to update its OS in order to resolve the conflict. But what would happen if Mac gets frozen while installing the update. In most of the cases, it is resolved with the following fix.

• Boot Mac in the Recovery mode

Simply force-restart Mac whenever it gets stuck while updating by long-pressing the power button. While it restarts, press and hold the Shift key to boot it in the recovery mode. From here, choose to reinstall the macOS update again. Just click on the “Install” button to download the fresh copy and get rid of the old update.


• Reset NVRAM

NVRAM is the non-volatile RAM in a system that stores vital information about the OS and its processes (like display, volume, and screen resolution). Therefore, if your Mac freezes up constantly during its update, then consider resetting its NVRAM instead. To do this, restart the Mac and press the Command + Option + P + R keys at the same time. This will automatically reset its NVRAM while restarting your Mac.


5. Mac Frozen on Startup

If while turning on, your Mac freezes unexpectedly, then you must be alarmed. There might be a problem with its bootstrap loader or BIOS that should be fixed immediately. Here’s what you can do if Mac keeps freezing during the startup process.

• Perform Internet Recovery

Internet recovery works quite similar to the normal recovery mode on Mac. Once you connect to a stable network, it will perform the needed steps to unfreeze Mac. To put your Mac in the recovery mode, restart it first. While it boots, press the Option + Command + R keys at the same time. Now, connect your system to a working network and start the internet recovery.


• Use the Startup Manager

If your Mac has been frozen on startup, we recommend taking the assistance of the startup manager. This will let you manually decide how and from where you wish to boot your Mac. If you want, you can take the assistance of an external drive to boot your Mac as well. Firstly, restart your Mac and press the Power + Option keys at the same time once you hear the startup chime. This will load the startup manager so that you can select a disk to load the startup program.


6. Mac Frozen on the Login Screen

Just like Mac is getting frozen during the startup, it might encounter some issues during the login screen as well. A lot of users find it hard to login to their user account after starting Mac. If your Mac screen freezes during the login, then consider following these tips.

• Reinstall macOS

Chances are that there could be an issue with the macOS as well, causing this error. To resolve this, restart your Mac and press the Command + R keys during the startup to enter the recovery mode. From the available macOS Utilities, click on the “Reinstall macOS” option. Simply follow the basic on-screen instructions to reinstall the OS on your Mac and fix it.


Part 4. How to Recover Data on a Frozen Mac?

Whenever our Mac freezes randomly, it might cause a lot of issues and unwanted problems – one of them is the unexpected loss of our data. Chances are that you might be working on an important document when Mac was frozen, causing its unavailability. If you wish to get back your lost data, then take the assistance of Recoverit Mac Data Recovery. It is a freely available data recovery application that runs on every major Mac version. It can extract all kinds of lost, deleted, or inaccessible content under various scenarios. This includes your photos, videos, audios, documents, zipped files, and so much more.

To understand how to retrieve deleted notes on Mac using Recoverit Data Recovery, the following steps can be followed:

Step 1: Select a Location

Firstly, launch Recoverit Data Recovery on your Mac and select a location to scan. We will mark the internal storage of Mac to scan in this case.


Step 2: Scan the Location

As the application would start the data extraction process, you are expected to wait for a while for it to complete. Try not to close the application till the process is completed.


Step 3: Preview and Recover

In the end, the application will display all the data extracted from the source into different categories. You can just preview your photos, videos, etc. and select the files you wish to save. Click on the “Recover” button in the end and save them to a trusted location.


Part 5: Tips to prevent a Frozen Mac

By now, you must be able to learn what to do if your Mac freezes randomly. Though, if you wish to avoid this situation altogether, then why not follow these tips.


That’s a wrap, folks! After reading this in-depth guide, you would be able to fix a Mac screen frozen issue for sure. Now when you know how to unfreeze Mac, you can easily overcome this unwanted issue. Also, if you don’t want to lose your important data, then give Recoverit Data Recovery a try. A highly advanced data recovery tool, it will make sure that you never experience a sudden loss of your important files again. Keep this free data recovery application for Mac handy, as it can be of great help in recovering your important files.

Sue Wayne

staff Editor

0 Comment(s)
Home > Resources > Solve Mac Problems > Mac Frozen? How to Unfreeze Mac