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If you’re a Mac user, you’ve likely encountered the frustrating spinning wheel or “spinning beach ball of death” at some point. This spinning wheel indicates that your Mac is busy processing something and can cause delays in completing tasks. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to stop the spinning wait cursor and get your Mac running smoothly again. In this post, we’ll explore some simple solutions to help you troubleshoot and resolve this issue on your Mac.
How To Stop The Spinning Wheel On Mac [Quick Answer]
The best way to stop spinning wheel on Mac is to wait for a few seconds. If waiting doesn’t help, force quit the unresponsive app. In most cases, this fixes the issue. But if the problem persists, you can also try some advanced solutions that we’ll cover below.
What Is The Mac Spinning Wheel?
The Mac Spinning Wheel, also known as the “beach ball” and technically called a throbber, appears on Mac’s screen when an application or task takes longer than usual to complete. It indicates that the computer is busy processing information, and you should wait until the task is completed.
The spinning wheel typically appears when an application loads, saves, or performs a complex operation. It can also appear when the computer performs demanding computing tasks, runs low on RAM or disk space, or when a Mac is frozen altogether.
The spinning wheel can be frustrating because it indicates the computer is not responding to your commands. But it is usually a temporary delay, and the computer will eventually complete the task and return to normal operation.
If the rainbow spinning wheel persists for an extended period, it may be a sign that there is a problem with the computer that needs to be addressed.
How to Stop the Spinning Wheel on Mac – Fix
Although no exact method works every time to stop the spinning wheel because the causes differ, there are different solutions for this issue. So, you can try the following solutions one by one, and it should fix the problem.
1. Wait A While
Well, this may sound like a no-brainer solution. But sometimes, the easiest way to fix a tech problem is to be patient.
The most common cause of a Mac spinning wheel is an application or service overusing system resources. In that case, the best solution is to give it some time and patience, and most likely, the issue will go away. So, give it a minute, take a break, and come back to see if the spinning wheel has vanished.
2. Force Quit
Sometimes, the spinning wheel appears when an application becomes unresponsive. This can happen when the app demands resources to run, and your computer can’t quite keep up. In this case, you can usually get rid of the spinning wheel by force quitting the unresponsive app. Here’s how:
- Go to the Apple menu at the top left of your screen and click Force Quit…
- Select the unresponsive program or app from the list and tap the Force Quit button.
Alternatively, you can also simply hit the Command, Option, and Escape keys simultaneously to access the force quit menu and quit a non-responsive app or program.
3. Repair Disk Errors
If you experience the spinning wheel often and you can’t seem to find an unresponsive program as the cause, you might be able to address the issue by repairing disk permission via Disk Utility.
- Open Finder on your Mac.
- In the Finder window, select Applications in the left sidebar and open the Utilities folder.
- Double-click the Disk Utility icon in the Utilities folder.
- Select your main hard drive and click the First Aid button in the top bar.
- Tap Run on the prompt.
- Tap Continue on the warning prompt.
The disk repair might fix your repeated spinning wheel issue.
4. Single User Reset
Single User Reset on a Mac refers to a process in which the computer is booted into a special mode known as Single User Mode. It allows you to perform maintenance tasks and troubleshoot issues with the system, including the spinning wheel issue.
This mode provides access to the command-line interface, allowing you to perform tasks such as resetting the password, repairing the disk, or deleting files causing problems.
Here’s how to perform a Single User Reset on Mac:
- Restart your Mac and hold down the Command and S keys while restarting.
- Hold down these keys until the Apple logo appears on your screen.
- Release the keys, and your screen will appear black with some lines of data and an old-style computer prompt. This indicates that you have successfully entered Single User Mode.
- Once in Single User Mode, run a file system check by entering the following command and pressing Enter:
- After you have completed the scan, enter the command reboot to restart your Mac in normal mode.
Note: Single User Reset should only be performed by experienced users who are familiar with the command-line interface and are confident in their ability to troubleshoot and repair the system. Performing the wrong commands can cause data loss or other issues, so following instructions carefully and double-checking commands before executing them is important.
5. Clean Disk Storage
When your Mac’s hard drive is running low on disk space, it can cause the system to slow down and lead to the appearance of the spinning wheel. When the hard drive is nearly full, the system can become fragmented and struggle to access files quickly. When you try to launch an application or perform a task, the system may have to spend time searching for the necessary files, which can cause the spinning wheel to appear.
Additionally, when the hard drive is low on space, the system may struggle to create and manage temporary files necessary for running applications. This can cause the system to slow down and become unresponsive, leading to the spinning wheel.
To clean up disk storage on a Mac, you can follow these tips:
- Identify which files and folders take up the most space on your Mac by clicking the Apple menu and selecting About This Mac > More Info > Storage Settings. This will show you what’s taking up space on your hard drive.
- Uninstall third-party apps that you don’t need anymore. Pay attention to the apps that automatically launch when you start the computer. You can disable them or remove them once and for all.
- Delete files you no longer need or use. You can go through your Documents, Downloads, Desktop, and other folders to identify files you can safely delete. Drag them to the Bin and empty the Bin to free up space.
- Another strategy to regain more storage quickly is cleaning unnecessary files taking excessive space on your Mac, for example, system junk, duplicated backups, and old downloads. You can use a Mac cleaner app for efficiency. CleanMyMac X is one that we use to clear out the cache and temporary files, and we highly recommend it.
- Remove large files and folders that you no longer need. You can use the Finder’s search feature to search for files larger than a certain size or sort files by size to identify which ones take up the most space.
- Move large files to an external hard drive or cloud storage service. If you have large files that you don’t need on your Mac all the time, consider moving them to an external hard drive or cloud storage service to free up space on your Mac.
6. Upgrade Your Hardware
The spinning wheel problems on older MacBooks may result due to more serious underlying causes that don’t have an easy fix. For instance, the wheel can appear due to an overworked CPU or insufficient RAM. If this is the case, you may have to upgrade hardware to keep up with the demands of modern apps and programs overworking your system.
To check your CPU usage:
- Open your Finder.
- Go to Applications and select Utilities.
- Double-click Activity Monitor to launch it.
- You can check your CPU usage in the %CPU column.
- You can also see the CPU Load at the bottom, giving you a graph and some data points on your CPU usage.
If the number here is above 50 percent and you are not currently running any apps or programs, your processor cannot keep up with your system, and it may be time for a new computer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes the spinning wheel on a Mac?
The spinning wheel on a Mac is usually caused by an unresponsive application or a slow system. It means your Mac is waiting for a process to complete or for an application to respond. It can also occur when you are running too many applications at the same time or there is not enough free disk space available.
How do I force quit an application that’s causing the spinning wheel on Mac?
You can force quit an application by pressing the Command + Option + Escape keys simultaneously, then select the application causing the issue and click the Force Quit button.
What if force quitting an application doesn’t work?
If force quitting an application doesn’t work, try restarting your Mac. To restart your Mac, hold down the power button until the computer shuts down. Then, press the power button again to turn it on.
Can a spinning wheel on a Mac be a sign of a more serious problem?
Yes, a spinning wheel on a Mac could be a sign of a more serious problem, such as a failing hard drive or a virus. If the spinning wheel persists after trying the common solutions, like restarting your Mac or force quitting the unresponsive apps, you may need to contact Apple Support for further assistance.
How can I prevent the spinning wheel from happening on my Mac in the first place?
You can prevent the spinning wheel from happening on your Mac in the first place by regularly performing maintenance tasks such as clearing your cache, freeing up disk space, and updating your operating system and applications. Additionally, avoid running too many applications at once, especially if your Mac has limited memory or processing power.
If you happen to see the spinning wheel on your Mac, you can usually fix it by simply force quitting the unresponsive application. If that doesn’t work, follow the other steps we have listed in this guide to address the issue and get your computer working again.
Nobody likes to see the spinning wheel, but now you know how to address the problem and remedy the issue on your own.
Do you have a nickname for the spinning wheel? Does it happen on your MacBook often?About Eric