How to Fix the Mac spinning beach ball

The spinning beach ball. The rainbow wheel of death. The pinwheel wait cursor. There are many different names for the colorful circle that appears when your Mac is loading, but no matter what you call it, it’s never a good sign.

When you’re running too many tasks at the same time, sometimes your Mac can become overwhelmed, and this is when the so-called spinning beach ball appears.

How to Fix the Mac Spinning Beach Ball

The spinning beach ball appears when your Mac can’t handle all of the tasks you’re running at the same time. It indicates that the system is temporarily busy and cannot handle additional commands.

So, we need to take it contextually. If you’re not running many processes and you’re waiting for Google Chrome to load, it is probably worth simply waiting.

This is because in many cases, the spinning wheel will go away when the application you’re waiting for loads in full. However, unfortunately this isn’t always the case.

The truth is that it could be that you have insufficient RAM to multitask on your Mac, high CPU usage from running graphic-intensive apps, outdated software from not keeping your operating system updated, or in some rare cases, a failing hard drive.

Check Your System’s Resources

The easiest way for us to see which apps is stopping your Macbook from loading is to open Activity Monitor – you can do this by using Spotlight (Cmd + Space) to find and open Activity Monitor.

activity-monitor-close-app

Looking through Activity Monitor allows us to look for apps consuming high CPU or memory, which are likely the cause of your loading issues. You can then select the app that’s causing the issue and then click the ‘X’ in the Activity Monitor toolbar to close it.

Free Up Memory and Disk Space

Another reason why the spinning beach ball may appear is because you have a lack of space on your Macbook. When your hard drive becomes full, you’ll often end up with a slow Macbook.

First things first though, you should restart your Mac. This clears temporary files and frees up RAM, which can help your Macbook to run properly.

sort-by-size-apps

After doing this, you should then Clean Up Your Hard Drive by deleting unnecessary files and uninstalling unused applications. You can see which files and apps are using the most space by sorting by File Size.

Update Your Software

Next, we need to make sure that the operating system you’re running is fully up to date. This is relatively simple to do, and first we need to click on the Apple icon in the menu bar. Then, select About This Mac.

about-mac123

If there’s a software update available for you to install, you’ll see this represented by a Software Update button within the page. If not, you’ll probably just see a More Info button instead.

Troubleshoot Hardware Errors

Next, we’re going to run Disk Utility. This allows users to manage and repair their storage devices, including hard drives and SSDs.

With Disk Utility, you can format drives, create disk partitions, and perform integrity checks to ensure your storage devices are functioning optimally.

To run Disk Utility, the easiest way is to find it using Spotlight. When you have, select your startup disk, and then click “First Aid” to check for disk errors.

first-aid-disk-utility

By following these steps, you should be able to get rid of the spinning beach ball on your Mac. Regular maintenance of your system’s resources and staying vigilant about updates are key to keeping your Mac running smoothly.

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Abby

Full-time writer & Apple fangirl. Currently running: 16" Macbook Pro w/ 64GB RAM & M1 Max. Already wants to upgrade to the M3 😫😭

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