Reboot Your MacBook to Fix Problems

By Mark L. Chambers

Yep, it sounds silly, but the fact is that rebooting your MacBook can often solve a number of problems. If you’re encountering these types of strange behavior with your laptop, a reboot might be all you need to heal:

  • Intermittent problems communicating over a network

  • A garbled screen, strange colors, or screwed-up fonts

  • The swirling Beach Ball of Doom that won’t go away after several minutes

  • An application that locks up

  • An external device that seems to disappear or can’t be opened

To put it succinctly, here’s a modest Mark’s Maxim:

Rebooting fixes problems because it resets everything. Your network connection might be acting up or have timed out, and rebooting restores it. Rebooting also fixes problems due to brownouts or those notorious AC power flickerings that you notice occassionally, which can even affect a laptop running on an AC adapter. Such interruptions might not bother you, but they can play tricks on your laptop that rebooting can fix.

If you’re in the middle of a program, try to save all your open documents before you reboot. That might not be possible, but try to save what you can.

As your first (and best) option for shutting down, click the Apple menu and then choose Shut Down. If you need to force a locked application (one that’s not responding) to quit so that you can reboot, follow these steps to squash that locked application:

  1. Click the Apple menu and choose Force Quit.

    The dialog appears on your screen.

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  2. Click the offending application, and then click the Force Quit button.

When you get everything to quit, you should be able to click the Apple menu and choose Shut Down (not Restart) without a problem.

If your MacBook simply won’t shut down (or you can’t get the offending application to quit), do what must be done:

  1. Press and hold your laptop’s Power button until it shuts itself off.

    You have to wait about five seconds for your MacBook to turn itself off.

  2. Wait about ten seconds.

  3. Press the Power button again to restart the computer.

After everything is back up, check whether the problem is still apparent. If you use your laptop for an hour or two and the problem doesn’t reoccur, you likely fixed it!